Family Medicine Leads the Ranks Despite Growing Shortage of Primary Care Physicians in U.S.
Seattle, Wash — Avvo (www.avvo.com), the world’s largest online directory for doctors and lawyers that provides free rankings for 90% of the working physicians in the U.S., today revealed the most popular medical specialty categories based on Q1 2011 metrics quantifying patient participation in Avvo’s online services that include searching Avvo’s physician directory, asking health related questions in the Q&A forum, and submitting reviews on their doctors’ Avvo profiles.
According to Avvo, the leading health service categories – about which patients most frequently request information – include (number one being the most sought after category, with the other categories in subsequent order):
- Family Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Internal Medicine
- Orthopedic Surgery
- Diagnostic Radiology
- Medical Oncology
These statistics – which identify Family Medicine as the most “popular” category and the area of medicine eliciting the strongest consumer interest – are particularly ironic given the growing shortage of “primary care” practitioners in the U.S. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care dropped 51.8% in recent years. The AAFP has also predicted a shortageof 40,000family physiciansby the year 2020, when the demand for family practitioners is expected to spike yet further. (This data is all the more disconcerting as the Baby Boomer population matures. Clearly, this demographic will need additional health care interventions and family medicine will remain the single most cost-effective way for them to manage their health and well-being as they age.)
“Avvo’s data reveals that the traditional family doctor is still – in the eyes of the public – the backbone of American medicine,” said Mark Britton, founder and CEO of Avvo.com. “Many medical students are attracted by the lure of sub-specialties perceived to be more lucrative and exciting; but perhaps more aspiring practitioners will consider hanging out their shingle in family medicine – as an independent practitioner or part of a larger organization – to respond to what is clearly a strong consumer demand.”
Avvo, which offers free editorial “Avvo Ratings” on more than 800,000 doctors ranging from 1 (“Extreme Caution”) to 10 (“Superb”), offers detailed information about a doctor’s background, experience and disciplinary record, along with patient and peer ratings – all in one place. The company encourages physicians working in Family Medicine and all of the above listed, top-ranking specialty fields, as well as any doctor looking to increase their online visibility with current and prospective patients, to take advantage of Avvo’s many free tools and services.
Avvo also counsels doctors to remain vigilant in communicating with their patient base about the healthiest ways to make an informed decision about any medical procedure – and to continually update information about their practice on Avvo.com to stay top of mind with all of their target constituents (including patients, other doctors, hospital leaders and healthcare community influencers). The company offers a free Question and Answer forum, where doctors can directly dialog with current and prospective patients and where patients can receive qualified answers from certified doctors in advance of selecting the appropriate physician for their needs. Additionally, Avvo Health Guides are free research tools, written as how-to articles, covering a range of everyday medical issues and authored by real doctors, that patients can access to further educate themselves – and that doctors can use as a highly effective marketing tool to tap new patients and also build loyalty with their current patient roster.
For more information on how to participate in Avvo’s Q&A forum and Health Guides to more effectively to reach a pre-disposed patient audience, physicians are encouraged to visit avvo.com.
Avvo is the largest and only free website that empowers consumers to handle medical and legal matters with confidence. Avvo offers free ratings and profiles for 90 percent of practicing lawyers and 90 percent of licensed MDs in the US. This includes the editorial Avvo Rating, patient and client reviews and peer endorsements as well as experience, background information, industry achievements and disciplinary records. Avvo also offers a free Question and Answer forum, where consumers can ask questions and receive certified answers from certified doctors and lawyers. Additionally, Avvo Legal Guides and Avvo Health Guides are free research tools, written as how-to articles covering everyday issues authored by certified lawyers and doctors. Founded in early 2006 and launched in 2007, Avvo is privately held, with funding from private investors, Benchmark Capital, Ignition Partners and DAG Ventures. For more information, visit www.avvo.com