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Research Letter
July 11, 2011

Annual Work Hours Across Physician Specialties

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, Departments of Public Health Sciences (Dr Leigh), Pediatrics (Dr Tancredi), Family and Community Medicine (Dr Jerant), and Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine (Dr Kravitz), University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(13):1211-1213. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.294

Debate surrounds the relative pay of physicians in various specialties. Several studies have addressed income differences.1 Few, by comparison, have addressed work hours, and we are not aware of any that consider annual work hours. Yet, work hours—independent of income—figure prominently in discussions of physician lifestyles,2 student choices,3 and patient safety.4

Data were drawn from a nationally representative sample of physicians in the 2004-2005 Community Tracking Survey (CTS). Our subsample contained 6381 physicians self-reporting 20 to 100 weekly work hours and at least 26 weeks worked annually.1 Work hours included all medically related activities (direct patient care, administrative tasks, and professional duties).1 Annual work hours were calculated as (weekly work hours) × (weeks worked per year).