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New, National Survey: A State Of The Union Of The Medical Profession

September 18, 2018

New, National Survey: A State Of The Union Of The Medical Profession

By Phillip Miller


How many patients do physicians see a week? How many hours do they work? How many are employed by a hospital and how many remain in private practice? How do younger doctors differ from older ones, and how do female doctors differ from males?


These and a wide range of other questions about who physicians are and how they practice are addressed in the newly released Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives


Conducted biennially by Merritt Hawkins on behalf of The Physicians Foundation, the survey is based on close to 9,000 physician responses and reveals data touching on some of the most pressing trends and challenges in healthcare today, including:


  • Poverty/the social determinants of health. 88% of physicians surveyed indicate that some, many or all of their patients have a social condition (poverty, unemployment, etc.) that poses a serious impediment to their health. 56% said that many or all of their patients have such an impediment while only 1% said that none of their patients have such an impediment.   
  • Opioid use: The majority of (69%) are prescribing fewer pain medications in light of the opioid crisis.  
  • Employed vs. independent physicians. While employed physicians work 3.4% more hours than practice owners (a counterintuitive finding) they see 11.8% fewer patients.
  • Male and female physicians. Female physicians spend 12% more time on non-clinical paperwork than do male physicians and see fewer patients.
  • Value-based payments. Only 47% of physicians indicate that any of their compensation is tied to value-based payments. Valued-based payments comprise about 14% of the total income of these docs.
  • The physician shortage: 80% of physicians indicate that they are at full capacity or are overextended and do not have the time to see more patients. Physicians are working fewer hours and seeing fewer patients on average, contributing to the physician shortage
  • Physician burnout: 78% of physicians sometimes, often or always have feelings of burnout. The burnout rate is higher for female physicians than for males. 46% of physicians plan to make a major change in their practices.
  • Telemedicine: 18.5% of physicians now practice some form of telemedicine.

The Survey of America’s Physicians is one of the largest and most comprehensive physician surveys conducted in the U.S. and includes a wealth of data and analysis of interest to anyone who follows physician practice and workforce trends. You can a download a copy of the survey here.


Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communications for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare.    

 


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