Top 20 physician group specialties with the most growth over the last five years
The healthcare industry is rapidly changing, and physician groups are not exempt from these changes.
Consolidation and increased ownership of physician groups by private equity (PE) firms are two trends impacting these practices nationwide. Clinicians may sell their practices due to the competitive landscape, the need for capital, financial uncertainty, high purchase prices, or all of the above. Due to these changing market dynamics, it’s more important than ever for healthcare organizations to stay on top of practice delivery shifts impacting physicians.
Organizations are also keeping their fingers on the pulse of patient care trends within specific specialties. Understanding these market dynamics and care patterns is critical when determining where to invest, forming organizational partnerships, and building relationships with healthcare professionals.
The Definitive Healthcare PhysicianGroupView product tracks more than 122,000 groups of physicians and other healthcare professionals. Using our Atlas All-Payor Claims and PhysicianGroupView data product, we compiled a list of physician group primary specialties with the most claims growth in the last five full-calendar years. We included specialties with more than 1,000 claims in this analysis.
Primary specialties with the greatest growth in claims from 2018-2022
|||Medical group primary specialty||Percent increase in claims (2018-2022)||Explore dataset|
|1||Hospice and Palliative Care||786%||Explore|
|2||Rheumatology - Pediatric||544%||Explore|
|4||Radiology - Interventional Radiology||83%||Explore|
|7||Therapy - Massage Therapist||56%||Explore|
|8||Radiology - Nuclear Medicine||55%||Explore|
|10||Surgery - Pediatric Surgery||44%||Explore|
|11||Otolaryngology - Pediatric||39%||Explore|
|12||Psychiatry - Neuropsychiatry||35%||Explore|
|13||Surgery - Surgical Oncology||33%||Explore|
|14||Social Worker - Licensed Clinical Social Worker||29%||Explore|
|15||Cardiology - Pediatric Cardiologist||23%||Explore|
|16||Oncology - Hematology/Oncology||21%||Explore|
|17||Oncology - Medical Oncology||20%||Explore|
|18||Cardiology - Cardiac Electrophysiology||17%||Explore|
|19||Psychiatry - Geriatric Psychiatry||16%||Explore|
|20||Therapy - Occupational Therapist||11%||Explore|
Which specialties had the most growth in the last five years?
In first place was hospice and palliative care with a 786% growth in claims. According to an article published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, one factor likely contributing to this growth is the increasing aging population, in particular with baby boomers ranging in ages between 57-75 years old. Additionally, hospice and palliative medicine is a relatively new physician specialty, so its growth is anticipated as the supply of clinicians in this emerging specialty increases over time.
In second place is rheumatology- pediatric. The growth in this specialty points to a supply-and-demand challenge. In 2020, the American College of Rheumatology published a workforce study and demand projections for the pediatric rheumatology workforce from 2015-2030. The study projected that by 2030, the demand for pediatric rheumatologists will be twice the supply.
Finally, in third place is preventive medicine (125%). This specialty grew steadily year-over-year since 2018, even during COVID-19 when many patients avoided going to the doctor’s office. Factors contributing to this growth may be related to the increased focus on value-based care and preventive medicine. Additionally, the increase of health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance plans offered by employers may be contributing to this growth as HMOs require the patient to establish care with a primary care provider before obtaining a specialist referral.
What’s a physician group?
A physician group refers to one or more healthcare professionals operating as an organization to provide patient care. These organizations can be single or multi-specialty.
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