To launch a successful business, you have to understand your market inside and out - especially when it comes to location.

The same goes for physicians who want to venture into private practice. From cost of living and crime rate to social amenities and outdoor recreation, there are many ways that a location can influence the well-being of a business and its employees.

So, what makes a great place for a medical practice?

Here, we highlight the best and worst states to practice medicine in 2020.

5 great states to practice medicine

Considering that physicians are 15 times more likely to experience burnout compared to professionals in other fields, the choice of location for a medical practice should be an informed one. If you're thinking of starting your own practice, consider doing so in a state that is conducive for medical professionals --- regardless of career stage or speciality.

North Dakota

Dakota means “friend” in Sioux language, which is why it comes as no surprise as the most welcoming states for medical practitioners. North Dakota is among the states with the least number of medical malpractice lawsuits leading to payouts. It's also known for having one of the more lenient medical boards in the nation.


There are a number of factors that make Vermont one of the best spots for doctors to set up shop. Most notably, Vermont consistently boasts one of the lowest crime rates, making it one of the safest places to live and work. It is also the states with the highest rate of insurance coverage. For doctors, this means less time spent stressing over patients who are struggling to pay.

New Hampshire

The Granite State features one of the highest rates of employer-sponsored health insurance. This contributes to New Hampshire's place high in the ranks when it comes to the rate of health insurance coverage nationwide. Similar to North Dakota, New Hampshire also consistently finds itself as one the states with the lowest rate of malpractice lawsuits leading to payouts.


Maine has the 2nd lowest violent crime rate in the country, which makes it a very safe place to establish your medical practice in. This state is also among the states with the highest patient satisfaction rate. In addition, Maine has one of the highest number of primary care physicians. In a field where burnout is rampant and a shortage is looming, this is a huge advantage.


Like North Dakota and New Hampshire, Massachusetts experiences a very low amount of fewer malpractice lawsuits. But that's not the only reason it's a conducive place for your medical practice to thrive. Despite the big-city influence of Boston, Massachusetts is also ranked highly when it comes to safety. It is considered one of the safest state to live in considering that it has a low crime rate.

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5 not-so-great states to practice medicine

On the flip-side, here are the states you may want to think twice about launching your own medical practice.


Although doctors in the Hawkeye State are some of the best paid in the country, it actually ranks poorly when it comes to starting your own medical practice. This is because the Iowa has a relatively high number of malpractice lawsuits and a fairly harsh medical board.


While Maryland does feature many good hospitals, there are certain aspects that make it a less-than-ideal location to start your own medical practice. Time and time again, Maryland finds itself scraping the bottom of the barrel in regards to physician density and cost of living.


First and foremost, the high cost of medical malpractice insurance certainly contributes to Pennslyvania's spot on the wrong side of the list. But what's even more detrimental to its repuation is the average physician pay and overall quality of life. As a result, many physicians may stray away from the Quaker State, making staffing for new medical practices a difficult endeavor.


So far, the states with low malpractice insurance costs, lawsuits and payouts have been recognized as great places to practice solo medicine.Leave it to Louisiana to buck the trend. Despite the Bayou State's low cost of malpractice insurance, there are certain aspects that thwart its desirability as far as running a medical practice is concerned. Not only is the Bayou State ranked poorly for quality of life and health care, but it is also among the least family friendly states.

New York

The Big Apple is considered one of best cities in the world for countless reasons. Physician pay, however, is certainly not among them. Physicians in this state are among the least paid, which may be exacerbated by the high cost of living and the high physician density. New York is also one of the states with the highest cost of malpractice lawsuits.

Key takeaways

As you can see, many factors come into play when it comes to choosing the best location to start your own medical practice. Some of those factors include:

  • Physician pay and density.
  • Cost of living, quality of life and crime rate.
  • Number of malpractice insurance lawsuits and payout frequency.

While these are all important aspects worth considering, some may rank higher on your list of needs than others. That's why it is important for you to determine what matters to you most so you can select a location will allow your medical practice to prosper.

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