5 biggest GI trends in 2019 — Private equity, salaries, cancer rates & more

As the dog days of summer inch ever closer, here are some of the biggest stories and trends that have defined gastroenterology through the first half 2019. 

Rising worldwide colorectal cancer mortality rates

While CRC rates are decreasing in certain countries — the U.S. included — worldwide colon and rectal cancer-associated mortality rates are expected to increase by 60 percent and 71.5 percent, respectively by 2035, according to World Health Organization data. 

Emerging alternatives to colonoscopy

While colonoscopy continues to reign supreme in the U.S. among CRC screening methods, emerging noninvasive DNA-based, fecal-based or even blood-based alternatives are attempting to make the screening process a more pleasant one for patients. While concerns continue to follow some tests like Exact Sciences' DNA-based test Cologuard, the test is inarguably one of the most popular alternative options in the market today.

Burnout and depression

Burnout rates continue to increase across all specialties, but in gastroenterology rates are particularly high. In Medscape's Gastroenterologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2019, 22 percent of gastroenterologists said they were happy at work, the fourth lowest of any specialty, and 45 percent reported being burned out. 

Money is everywhere 

Gastroenterologists are making hospitals more money than ever before, and their own pay rates continue to increase. In Merritt Hawkins' 2019 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey, gastroenterologists generated an average net revenue of $2,965,277 in 2019, up from $1,422,677 reported in the 2016 survey. Gastroenterologists reported having the seventh-highest salary — $417,000 — in Medscape's Physician Compensation Report 2019. 

PE activity ramps up 

Gastroenterology practices, too, are becoming more attractive acquisition targets for private equity firms. To date, four GI groups have closed transactions, while the first group to take on a PE partner — Miami-based Gastro Health — expanded out of its home market.

Have thoughts on any of these trends? Share them with Eric Oliver at eoliver@beckershealthcare.com.

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