Traveling for Care: Top Cities for Health Care Specialists



Specialized health care spans a wide range of medical expertise specific to certain health conditions. Since finding the right specialist doctor can make or break patient health outcomes, we mapped the top health care hubs for specialized care in the United States.


Our meta-ranking reflects diverse factors like search volume, employment opportunities, and patient satisfaction across various medical specialties. In this article, we’ll explain our findings about how different cities compare in offering cutting-edge medical services and what it means for patients seeking specialized care. Our study results offer insights into health care accessibility and patient preferences in America’s urban centers.


Key Takeaways


  • Miami, Tampa, and Long Beach are the top U.S. hubs for specialized health care.
  • Miami, Atlanta, and Tampa are the cities with the highest demand for specialized health care.
  • Long Beach, Boston, and Atlanta have the most job opportunities for health care specialists.
  • Austin, Dallas, and Charlotte are the cities with the highest-rated specialist doctors.
  • 90% of Americans with long-term health conditions would travel for health treatments, and 55% of them would go out of state.

The Best Cities for Specialized Health Care


Our meta-ranking reflects aggregate data from Google Trends, Google Reviews, and Indeed to evaluate and rank the top health care hubs across the 50 most populous U.S. cities. Use the interactive table below to see how they ranked overall and by search volume, employment, and service ratings.


Florida is the nation’s fastest-growing state, and two of its cities ranked among the top three U.S. hubs for specialized health care: Miami with a final score of 80.5, closely followed by Tampa at 74.8. Long Beach, California, ranked third with a score of 69.1, while Minneapolis and Boston completed the top five with scores of 68.8 and 67.2, respectively.


How Health Care Hubs Measure Up


Next, we’ll break down the above rankings into the distinctive strengths of various U.S. cities in specialized health care with top-five rankings based on search interest, job opportunities, and patient satisfaction.

Miami, Atlanta, and Tampa had the highest patient demand for specialized healthcare. This notable online interest for specialists in Florida mirrors the state’s diverse population needs, especially for its many seniors; it has the highest percentage of residents aged 65 and older


Meanwhile, Long Beach stood out with the most job opportunities for health care specialists, followed by Boston and Atlanta. This comes alongside California’s initiatives to expand medical services to undocumented immigrants. But when it came to patient satisfaction reflected by specialist ratings, doctors in Austin, Dallas, and Charlotte shone at the top. 


We also took a closer look at how various cities fared for specific medical specialties. These top cities were leaders in their respective fields based on the same meta-ranking: search volume, employment data, and average review ratings.

Miami maintained its top position with a strong presence in a handful of medical specialties, including gastroenterology, endocrinology, neurology, and cardiology. Again, this prominence reflects Florida’s large retirement population, who are the primary beneficiaries of specialized services.


Traveling for Specialized Health Care


Next, we surveyed 670 Americans with long-term health conditions about their preferences in seeking specialized health care within and beyond their local areas.

Given the extensive impact of long-term health conditions on daily life — more than a third of individuals with such conditions (37%) reported experiencing major disruptions in their routines as a result — finding the best care is crucial. Although 90% of Americans with long-term health conditions were open to traveling for health treatments when necessary, far fewer (55%) expressed a willingness to cross state lines.

Among the 23% with long-term health conditions who had traveled outside their city for care, the majority (57%) stayed within their state. In addition, one-third (33%) went out-of-state, 8% visited a nearby city, and 2% traveled internationally for specialized care.

Most travelers (87%) were satisfied with the specialized care they received away from home, but their considerations extended beyond treatment quality. Top concerns regarding getting these treatments outside their home city included travel expenses (71%), medical costs (60%), and coordinating with new health care providers (48%). 

In light of these challenges, 70% of respondents said they’d consider telehealth specialist consultations, suggesting a growing preference for accessible, less disruptive health care options. This shift towards digital health solutions could potentially alleviate some of the burdens associated with managing long-term health conditions.


Accessing Specialized Care Across America


Our study highlights the significance of location in accessing specialized health care. Miami, Tampa, and Long Beach emerged as leading hubs, driven by demand, job opportunities, and patient satisfaction. These findings measure health care excellence in different parts of the U.S. and emphasize America’s readiness to travel for quality treatment. The emerging trend toward telehealth also points to a future where access to specialized care can help transcend geographic barriers, offering new avenues for managing long-term health conditions.




For this study, we identified the top health care hubs in the United States considering the following specialties: cardiology, cosmetic surgery, dermatology, endocrinology, gynecology/obstetrics, ophthalmology, oncology, neurology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, pediatrics, urology, rheumatology, psychiatry, and pulmonology. 


We focused on the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. and gathered data from three main sources: Google Reviews (to assess patient ratings for health care facilities in each city), Indeed (to collect employment data for each specialty), and Google Trends (to determine online search volume for each specialty). This system allowed us to develop a meta-ranking of these cities based on a composite of health care quality, the availability of specialist doctors, and the level of public interest in each specialty.


We also surveyed 670 Americans who were either currently experiencing (72%) or had previously experienced (28%) a long-term health condition. The generational breakdown was as follows: 17% baby boomers, 31% Generation X, 51% millennials, and 1% Generation Z. As for gender, 63% of respondents were women, 33% were men, and 4% identified as non-binary. 


In terms of household income per year, 18% were earning less than $25,000, 10% were earning $25,000-$34,999, 15% were earning $35,000-$49,999, 22% were earning $50,000-$74,999,  13% were earning $75,000-$99,999, and 23% were earning $100,000 or higher. These percentages don’t total 100 due to rounding.


Regarding health insurance coverage, 53% had private insurance, 36% had government-sponsored or public health insurance, 5% had both private and public insurance, and 6% had no health insurance. Geographically, 27% of the respondents lived in urban areas, 47% in suburban areas, 16% in rural areas, and 10% in small towns.


All data was collected in December 2023 and January 2024.


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Fair Use Statement


Should you find value in our analysis of specialized health care hubs across the United States and wish to share these insights, you’re welcome to do so for non-commercial purposes. Please link back to this original page, ensuring that readers have complete access to our research and methodology.