Published 2/1/2009
Carolyn Rogers

Information equals power

AAOE practice survey gives members benchmarks

AAOE practice survey gives members benchmarks

Is your practice keeping pace with the competition?

Does the education, training, and experience of your staff measure up to their peers across town? As an employer, are you offering your workers a competitive compensation and benefits package? If you don’t know the answers to these questions and others, isn’t it time you found out?

The American Association of Orthopaedic Executives’ (AAOE) is an ideal place to start. Each year, AAOE members are given the opportunity to participate in the online Orthopaedic Practice Benchmarking Survey. After completing the survey, the practice executive receives a free online benchmarking report they can compare the practice with others by subspecialty, region, practice size, and other data sets. The report provides current data on practice finances and operations, including operating costs, staffing, compensation levels, and revenues.

Practice administrator data
Information collected through the AAOE survey falls into three broad categories—practice administrators, physicians, and practice operations. The 2007 AAOE Orthopaedic Practice Benchmarking Survey summary report (released in 2008) provides a wealth of information about today’s orthopaedic practice administrator—including data on age and gender, years in practice management, certifications and degrees, benefits, and detailed compensation data.

Below are a few practice administrator-related “fast facts” from the 2007 survey report:

Age, gender

  • The average administrator age is 49, ranging from 29 to 67.
  • Fifty-five percent of practice administrators are female; 45 percent are male.


• Just under half (45 percent) of respondents report having at least one certification.

• More than two-thirds of administrators hold either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.


  • Practice administrators receive an average of five benefits.
  • Most practice administrators receive health insurance (self), 401k benefits, profit sharing, and life insurance.
  • Compensation
  • Total base annual compensation for administrators ranges from $40,000 to $320,000.
  • Average total administrator compensation is $101,821.
  • Eighty percent of respondents report receiving a bonus.
  • Annual administrator bonuses range from $250 to $158,700, with a median of $10,000.
  • Bonus amounts are related to practice size and increase with the number of physician FTEs (full-time equivalents).
  • Overall, administrator compensation averages $22,588 per physician FTE.
  • On average, administrators’ compensation is 28 percent of physician compensation, with a median of 25 percent.

The 2009 survey of 2008 data is the AAOE’s most comprehensive benchmarking survey to date, says AAOE Executive Director Julie Kahlfeldt. A summary report will be issued in mid-April, but the database will be continuously updated throughout the year as more surveys are completed.

About 20 percent of the organization’s 1,500 members—representing more than 1,200 physicians—currently participate in the AAOE survey. “The more practices that participate, the more statistically reliable the data,” Ms. Kahlfeldt points out.

AAOE members are urged to visit the Web site (www.aaoe.net) to get started. Each participating orthopaedic practice is assigned a unique identification code, and all data are guaranteed secure.

Complete results of the survey are free to AAOE members; if your practice administrator isn’t a member, you can purchase the results by calling toll-free (800) 247-9699. Better yet, why not encourage your practice administrator to join the AAOE?

Carolyn Rogers is a staff writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at rogers@aaos.org

Visit AAOE booth in Las Vegas
If you’ll be attending the AAOS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, be sure to stop by the American Assoc­­iation of Orthopaedic Executives’ (AAOE) booth, located in the Sands Expo Center, between Halls B and C.