Why gastroenterologists are leaving the field

Whether due to COVID-19 induced changes or a shift in approach to care, many gastroenterologists have chosen not to stick around as the gastroenterology landscape continues to evolve. 

Gastroenterology is expected to be down 1,630 physicians by 2025, according to Physicians Thrive's "2022 Physician Compensation Report."

Robbie Allen, CEO of One GI, recently connected with Becker's to discuss where the physician shortage in gastroenterology stems from. 

Note: This response has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Robbie Allen: I think it's a trend that was accelerated by COVID-19. A lot of these groups as they joined a consolidated private equity platform had an opportunity to monetize their practice, often on the heels of monetizing maybe an ASC before that. So there was a large cash event that made it easier to leave at 60 instead of 65.

Piece two is that COVID-19 and the last 10 years of medicine have been a time of real profound change and upheaval. There's that shift away from provider centricity towards a patient centric model. That's not what a lot of that generation of physicians signed up for so you're seeing them leave.

The last piece is the younger physicians mirror younger Americans in general. As a rule, they don't live to work. They want to do the same things that every young person wants to do. They're also generally not first generation college graduates anymore. They often come from a much more wealthy or not financially distressed family position. So the entire family isn't dependent on them becoming a success or a doctor. They tend to work differently, they tend to want the very same things you might want. "What's your time off policy?" "Can I take a leave of absence?" "I don't want to work 14 hours a day." That's creating a risk. That is very different from the way this specialty has been practiced up until now. 

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