In a new survey, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) found that sports medicine physicians are about twice as likely to be in the top 1 per cent of their field than other doctors.
The survey, conducted in 2015, found that there were 7,000 practicing sports medicine and allied health physicians in Canada.
“The general trend in the health care sector is toward specialization in areas that have higher rates of hospitalization and use of costly drugs, and those are areas where the medical professions are most needed,” Dr. Peter Wainwright, a co-author of the CIHI survey, said in a statement.
“A recent study suggests that physicians specializing in sports medicine may be able to achieve the same or even higher quality of care, while not having to devote their time and resources to other fields.”
CIHI also surveyed 2,500 physicians in the U.S. who were practicing sports medical and allied medicine.
It found that of the 7,001 physicians who answered, 1,719 (57.9 per cent) were in the highest 1 per per cent.
“These findings suggest that physicians working in sports are better equipped to serve patients in the acute care setting, which includes patients with acute illnesses, such as acute myocardial infarction,” Dr Wain Wright said in the statement.
The findings came just one year after Dr Wainer and colleagues at McGill University, a research group funded by the National Institutes of Health, reported that they found that sport medicine physicians were about half as likely as their non-specialist peers to be the top doctors in the country.
Dr Wager and his colleagues said they were able to track down and interview more than 300 doctors in nine U.K. cities, and found that they were more likely to prescribe drugs than their nonspecialist colleagues.
The authors said they believe that physicians are more likely than nonspecialists to prescribe medications in an emergency.
“We are also surprised to find that physicians with a particular specialty are more than three times as likely than their colleagues in other specialties to be highly skilled in their specialty,” Dr Williams said in an interview with CBC News.
“It suggests that in some instances, they are performing more intensive research and testing in their specialized areas, and in others, they may be more involved in public health.”
The CIHI study found that in 2015 there were more than 7,200 doctors practicing sports and allied medical and health-care related medicine.
But Dr Wains study found the number of doctors practicing specialty medicine in the first half of 2017 was only 6,700.
It also found that the median salary for sports medicine practitioners in Canada in 2017 was $72,000, or less than half the median income of the top 100 doctors in Canada, according to the CIHS 2017 Annual Survey of Medical Specialists.
“As more and more physicians become involved in their specialties, we are witnessing the rise of specialization in health care, and this could be contributing to a growing gap between the medical and nonmedical professions,” Dr Wright said.