How physician pay in the US compares to other countries: 11 findings

Physicians in the U.S. on average earn far more than their counterparts in other countries and rank significantly higher in terms of net worth, according to Medscape's "International Physician Compensation Report."

The survey, released Aug. 20, includes responses from physicians in the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil and Mexico. Respondents were all full-time practicing physicians.

Eleven findings:

1. On average, physicians in the U.S. earned the most ($316,000) per year, followed by Germany ($183,000) and the U.K. ($138,000). Physicians in Mexico earned the least at $12,000.

2. In terms of net worth, U.S. physicians are significantly ahead of their counterparts in other countries. The average net worth of physicians in the U.S. is $1.7 million, according to the survey. Physicians in the U.K. ranked second with an average net worth of $657,000, and those in Mexico had an average net worth of $67,000.

3. Fifty-nine percent of U.S. physicians surveyed said that they felt fairly compensated, the highest among countries surveyed. In Germany, 43 percent of physicians feel they are fairly compensated, compared to just 14 percent in Spain.

4. On average, primary care physicians in the U.S. earn $242,000 annually, the highest of any country surveyed. Second was Germany ($200,000) and last was Mexico ($70,000).

5. Specialists in the U.S. and Germany earn the most among the countries surveyed. On average, male specialists in the U.S. earn $376,000 per year, while female specialists earn $283,000, compared to $194,000 and $131,000 respectively in Germany.

6. The U.S. has the lowest specialist pay disparity, with male specialists earning 33 percent more than women. The highest gender pay gap occurs in France, where male specialists earn 63 percent more than women, the survey found.

7. Mortgages on one's primary home is the most common debt for physicians in the U.S. (64 percent), the U.K. (67 percent), Spain (49 percent), Germany (40 percent) and Italy (36 percent). At 52 percent, credit card debt is the leading debt among physicians in Mexico, according to the survey.

8. Of the U.S. physicians surveyed, 39 percent said that they use telemedicine in their practice. Physicians in the U.K. topped the list with 68 percent reporting the use of telemedicine.

9. Physicians everywhere voiced frustrations about paperwork and administrative burdens. In the U.S., 26 percent of physicians reported spending between one and nine hours a week on administrative tasks, and 19 percent reported dedicating more than 25 hours a week.

10. If given the option, 78 percent of physicians in the U.S. said they would choose medicine again, third behind physicians in Germany and Mexico, who tied at 79 percent.

11. Eighty-one percent of physicians in the U.S. said they would choose the same specialty, the highest rate of any country.

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