Hospital CFOs crunched the numbers to see how various physician specialties stack up according to the amount of revenue they generate for their affiliated hospital.

For the survey, researchers from Merritt Hawkins, a national physician search firm, asked hospital CFOs to quantify the amount of revenue physicians in 18 medical specialties generated for their affiliate hospital in the previous 12 months. CFOs were asked to consider both net inpatient and outpatient revenue derived from patient referrals, tests, prescriptions and procedures performed or ordered.

Merritt Hawkins is a national physician search firm and an AMN Healthcare company.

Below are four findings from the survey.

1. On average, a primary care physician generated about $1.4 million in revenue for his or her affiliated hospital within the last year, compared to $1.6 million generated by a specialist physician.

2. Orthopedic surgeons topped the list as the physician group that generated the most revenue. A full-time orthopedic surgeon brought in an average of $2.7 million in revenue last year for his or her affiliated hospital.

3. Invasive cardiologists generated the second-most revenue, with an average of $2.4 million annually, and neurosurgeons followed close behind. General surgeons took the fourth spot on the list, generating nearly $2.2 million annually for their affiliated hospitals.

4. Primary care physicians presented the best return on investment for hospitals. In 2015, family physicians had an average starting salary of $198,000 at participating hospitals, and generated 7.5 times that amount in hospital revenue. Orthopedic surgeons averaged a starting salary of $497,000 and generated only 5.5 times that amount in revenue.

From Beckers Hospital Review, April 12, 2016, by Brooke Murphy