TUESDAY, May 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Newly certified general internists mainly choose hospital medicine as their career path, according to a study published online May 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Bradley M. Gray, Ph.D., from the American Board of Internal Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues measured changes in practice setting for general internists. A total of 67,902 general internists, comprising 80 percent of all internists certified from 1990 to 2017, were studied.

The researchers found that both hospitalists and outpatient-only physicians increased as percentages of general internists from 2008 to 2018 (25 to 40 percent and 23 to 38 percent, respectively). This increase was accompanied by a decline from 52 to 23 percent in the percentage of mixed-practice physicians, as these physicians mainly migrated to outpatient-only practice. By 2018, 71 and 8 percent of newly certified general internists practiced as hospitalists and outpatient-only physicians, respectively. Eighty-six percent of hospitalists in 2013 had the same practice type five years later. This rate of retention was similar across early-career and more senior physicians (85 and 86 percent for those initially certified in 1999 and 2012, respectively) and for the outpatient-only practice type (95 percent); the retention rate was 57 percent for the mixed-practice type.

“The percentage of newly certified general internists electing to focus on hospital medicine increased substantially from 2008 to 2018,” the authors write. “Our findings suggest that this is not a temporary choice but reflects a more permanent career decision.”

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