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May 28, 2021

The best (and worst) states for doctors, according to Medscape

Daily Briefing

    For the third consecutive year, Minnesota ranks first in Medscape's annual list of the best places to practice medicine in the United States, which this year focused on the states with the "secret sauce" that makes them great locations for physicians.

    Infographic: Navigating the physician engagement challenge


    For the list, Medscape compiled data from multiple sources between March 10 and 12, including its own reports on physician compensation; physician depression and/or burnout; and lifestyle and happiness; as well as data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, U.S. News and World ReportCommonwealth FundKaiser Family Foundation, and others.

    Medscape considered 10 metrics, including seven "hard" measures—such as malpractice payouts, compensation, and health system performance—and three "soft" measures, including rates of burnout and happiness at work and outside of work. 


    According to Medscape, the 10 best states in which to practice medicine are:

    1. Minnesota
    2. Wisconsin
    3. Washington
    4. Colorado
    5. Utah
    6. Nebraska
    7. Iowa
    8. North Carolina
    9. Massachusetts
    10. Idaho.

    Medscape's Shelley Reese writes that physicians in Minnesota report burnout and/or depression rates below the national average, while the share of physicians who say they are "'very happy' outside of work" is above the national average. In addition, the state ranks high for livability and overall performance for health systems, based on Medscape's metrics. It also has a low rate of "adverse actions against doctors."

    Meanwhile, according to Medscape, the five worst states in which to practice medicine are:

    1. West Virginia
    2. Louisiana
    3. New Mexico;
    4. Nevada
    5. Rhode Island

    According to Reese, West Virginia "ranks among the least livable and healthy" states, and doctors there face a "high rate of adverse actions," with malpractice payouts last year proportionally high when compared with the small population (Reese, "Best & Worst Places to Practice 2021," Medscape, 5/21; Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 5/24).

    An update on the physician landscape, one year later

    Radio Advisory, a podcast for busy health care leaders.

    A year ago, a number of predictions were being made about how the Covid-19 pandemic would affect the physician landscape in the United States. Looking back at those predictions, Advisory Board's Sarah Hostetter and Daniel Kuzmanovich talk with Radio Advisory's Rachel Woods about what has changed in the physician landscape over the past year and what hasn't.

    Listen now

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