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The NetMinder Blog

Healthcare Jobs Continue To Be The Best Jobs

Posted by Laura McMullen on Thu, Apr 13, 2017

The 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best jobs in the US are out and 8 of the top 10 are healthcare providers. Dentists are back on top after slipping to second after orthodontists in 2016; anesthesiologists and psychiatrists fell out of the top 10. Nurse practitioners moved up the most spots (from sixth to second) and orthodontists moved down the most (from first to fifth).  

Here’s the Top 10:  

best jobs_table.jpg(Statistician was fourth and computer systems analyst ranked eighth to round out the Top 10. Click here for the whole list.)

Healthcare jobs have dominated the top 10 for the last few years with solid demand, high job satisfaction, and strong salaries. Like last year, dentists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants make up the clear majority of the projected demand. All three are generalists who offer treatment to people of a variety of ages on a routine basis. The rest of the providers in the list are specialists who provide care for people with specific needs.  

NetMinder Shows More Specialists Are Joining Networks

Generalists are in higher demand with more open positions overall. Interestingly, NetMinder shows that generalists are being added to provider networks more slowly than specialists.  

  • The number of general dentists who participate in national provider networks grew 11% between March 2016 and March 2017 while dental specialists grew 24% in the same period. 
  • The number of primary care physicians in broad, national networks grew 11% during the same period while specialists grew 15%.  

Two possible reasons for this are (1) specialty care costs more so carriers are motivated to add specialists to their networks and (2) there are more specialists than generalists. Medical networks are more mature than dental networks, which explains the slower growth rate of medical specialists in networks. 

The overall demand reflects the increased need for healthcare services in the US. Factors contributing to this need are: 

  • The aging of the US population. By the year 2040, about 22% of the population will be over age 65, per the US Administration on Aging. And we’re living longer: the Census Bureau reports that the average time to live for those turning 85 increased from 5.5 years in 1972 to 6.5 years in 2010. 
  • The shortage of doctors and nurses. Rigorous, lengthy, and expensive training requirements and the aging of the workforce plus unsatisfactory working conditions make these professions less attractive to young people. Some shortages result from faulty geographic and specialty distribution of healthcare professionals.  

While the greater demand for generalists is in line with the triple aim of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement: improve the patient experience (including quality and satisfaction), improve the health of populations, and reduce the per capita cost of health care, the shortage of specialists is also being felt. 

Demand For Specialized Healthcare Providers Small But Significant 

As we’ve seen in other years, the absolute number of professionals needed in these specialty fields is low, i.e. orthodontists, oral surgeons, and nurse anesthetists. Yet, the demand represents a significant percentage of the workforce and the training programs are long and rigorous requiring long lead times to fill openings. Many of these professionals serve limited populations during occasional periods with time-consuming or high-risk services which also suppresses demand resulting in a few openings with high rewards.  

All eight have similar satisfaction rankings and unemployment rates with the major differences in demand and salary possibilities. As in past years, the rankings take compensation, flexibility, opportunities for advancement, market demand, amount of stress, and skills or training required into consideration. See the methodology here

How are you addressing these supply and demand trends in your network development plans? 

Tags: Medical, dentists, network development, best jobs, healthcare providers, medical specialties, healthcare jobs

More Psychiatrists Needed

Posted by Laura McMullen on Fri, Jul 22, 2016

Mental health care is in the news almost daily these days. Common story lines are about undiagnosed people, rising substance abuse rates, and the high cost of care. A contributing factor is the shortage of highly trained providers. Psychiatrists ranked seventh in US News and World Reports 2016 Best Jobs list. Psychiatrists are a new entry in the list and represent 15% of the overall demand for the top 10 jobs through 2024. (Take a look at our blog post, Physician Assistants are in Demand, to see the other eight healthcare jobs that were in the top 10.)

More_Psychiatrists_Needed_image.jpgAccording to PsychCentral.com, “psychiatrists make up approximately 5 percent of all 661,400 physicians and surgeons employed in the U.S. in 2008. This is a rate similar to general surgery, OBGYN and anesthesiology.” In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were about 34,000 psychiatrists in the US. The demand for psychiatrists (4,200) represents ~12% of the current industry.  

Like with physician assistants and nurse practitioners, we’re seeing evidence of market demand in provider directories. We used NetMinder to analyze psychiatrist and psychologist populations in six large national behavioral networks and five large national medical networks between March 2015 and March 2016. Here’s what we found:  

    • Significantly fewer psychiatrists and psychologists participate in medical networks than behavioral networks. This reflects the common practice of carving behavioral health out of medical plans. 
    • Psychiatrists are in demand. Behavioral networks added twice as many psychiatrists as psychologists. Medical networks grew more slowly, adding just 5% more psychiatrists than psychologists. The shortage is felt in commercial networks as well as in other care settings. 
  • Each type of network focused on retaining different providers. Behavioral networks retained more psychologists. Medical networks retained more psychiatrists. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication so they fit better in medical plans with pharmacy benefits. And medication management is more lucrative. On average, a psychiatrist who charges for 45-50 minutes of psychotherapy earns $74-$107 less than he or she would for three 15-minute sessions of medication management. The reason may be that insurers figure that psychotherapy, which is time consuming and may go on for months, should be handled by providers who charge less. 

Similar to other jobs on the list that require long and rigorous training, psychiatrists report high compensation, strong job satisfaction, and low unemployment rates. As in past years, the rankings take compensation, flexibility, opportunities for advancement, market demand, amount of stress, and skills or training required into consideration. See the survey methodology here. 

How is the need for more psychiatrists affecting your network? 

Tags: network data, Healthcare, Health plan, best jobs, medical networks

Physician Assistants Are In Demand

Posted by Laura McMullen on Fri, Feb 12, 2016

The 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best jobs in the US are out and nine of the top 10 are healthcare providers, up from seven of 10 last year. Physician assistants saw the biggest change, moving to fifth place from 10th place.

One of the criteria the magazine uses in ranking professions is market demand. We’re seeing evidence of that in provider directories. The physician assistant total in NetMinder increased nearly three times as fast as the number of family practice, general practice, and internal medicine doctors in four of the largest national PPO networks between September 2014 and September 2015. Retention rates were slightly lower for the same period for physician assistants (85%) vs. doctors (89%).

Here’s the Top 10 from U.S. News & World Report:

post_chart2.jpg

(Computer systems analyst ranked third – the only non-healthcare provider job. Click here for the Top 100.)

Nearly 60% of the Projected Demand is for Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners

Physician assistants are filling the primary care access gap in many parts of the country. Demand for these professionals is high and training requirements are shorter than for physicians. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill started a two-year physician assistant training program that is specifically designed for non-traditional students, particularly veterans with medical experience.  Students are typically older and have more clinical experience compared to the national average. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina donated $1.2 million to the program.

And by working with doctors and other healthcare professionals, nurse practitioners help make resources in acute and primary care settings more effective. In fact, in a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing patients and families described “processes that were effectively used by teams with a nurse practitioner; these included improved communication, involvement in decision-making, cohesion, coordination of care, solving problems, and focusing on the needs of patients and their families.”

Demand For Other Healthcare Providers Small But Significant

While the absolute number of orthodontists and obstetricians needed is low, they represent a significant percentage of the workforce and the training programs are long and rigorous. Many of these professionals serve limited populations during occasional periods with time-consuming or high-risk services which also suppresses demand resulting in a few openings with high rewards.

All nine have similar satisfaction rankings and unemployment rates with the major differences in demand and salary possibilities. As in past years, the rankings take compensation, flexibility, opportunities for advancement, market demand, amount of stress, and skills or training required into consideration. See the methodology here.

How are you addressing these supply and demand trends in your network development plans?

Tags: network development, best jobs, healthcare providers

 

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