Healthcare Insights

Top 20 physician executives by medical specialty

In addition to providing patient care in a variety of settings, many physicians are also industry experts in their field of specialty. Some physicians even move into executive and administrative positions at hospitals, healthcare systems, and physician groups, where they frequently become influential healthcare leaders.

The Definitive Healthcare HospitalView and PhysicianView products track facilities and providers across the U.S. healthcare landscape. Profiles of both physicians and hospital executives highlight the executive positions that a physician may hold. For example, the chief medical information officer (CMIO) at a healthcare system may also serve as an emergency medicine doctor at one of the hospitals in the system.

In this Healthcare Insight, we review physician executives to analyze their most common medical specialties. Understanding these nuances of an executive’s or a physician’s background helps to recruit for hard-to-fill positions or target the most influential leaders in a specific therapy area.

Most common physician executives by medical specialty

RankPrimary specialtyPercent of physician executivesExplore dataset
2Family Practice9.60%Explore
3Internal Medicine9.00%Explore
5Therapy - Physical Therapist4.40%Explore
8Pediatric Medicine3.00%Explore
9Surgery - Orthopedic Surgery2.60%Explore
11Emergency Medicine2.40%Explore
12Nurse - Nurse Practitioner2.20%Explore
17Surgery - General Surgery2.10%Explore
18Anesthesiology - Anesthesiologist2.10%Explore
19Cardiology - Cardiologist2.10%Explore
20Psychology - Clinical Psychologist1.90%Explore

Fig. 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView and PhysicianView products and sourced from proprietary research, the October 2022 Medicare Cost Report release, the NPI Registry and Physician Compare. Data accessed November 2022.

Which medical specialties have the most physician executives?

Based on our analysis of more than 147,000 physician executives, the most common medical specialties for physician executives are chiropractic, family medicine, and internal medicine.

Family and internal medicine physicians are some of the most common medical specialties for U.S. providers, as well as some of the most popular specialties selected by medical school graduates. Chiropractors are the 11th most popular physician specialty.

What hospital positions do physician executives hold?

The most common titles for hospital and healthcare system leaders who are also physicians include:

  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Medical Director
  • Board Member
  • Emergency Department Director
  • Director of Anesthesiology
  • Chief of Staff
  • Director of Oncology
  • Director of Cardiology
  • Operating Room Officer

Learn more

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.