Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

Physicians Foundation survey finds physicians pessimistic about the future

The Physicians Foundation released the findings of its 2018 survey of U.S. physicians this week, revealing the impact of several factors driving physicians to reassess their careers. The new survey includes responses from almost 9,000 physicians across the country and underscores the overall impact of excessive regulatory/insurer requirements, loss of clinical autonomy and challenges with electronic health record (EHR) design and interoperability on physician attitudes toward their medical practice environment and overall dissatisfaction – all of which have led to professional burnout.

Survey results show that 78 percent of physicians nationwide report experiencing burnout. This number is similar to findings from a survey conducted by the Wisconsin Medical Society and American Medical Association last year, in which 87 percent of nearly 1,200 respondents indicated some degree of burnout. Leading contributors to that burnout include frustration with electronic health record (EHR) systems and the burden of regulatory and insurance requirements, which reduces their time for direct patient care. As a result, nearly half of the respondents in both surveys indicated that they are considering reducing their hours, retiring in the next three to five years or leaving the profession.

“The results of the Physicians Foundation survey are sobering but, unfortunately, not surprising,” said Society CEO Clyde “Bud” Chumbley, MD. “They mirror what we’re seeing in Wisconsin and why the Society is making this issue our top priority. Addressing burnout is critical not only for physician well-being and satisfaction, but for patients as well because it impacts their access to care, the patient-physician relationship and, ultimately, patient outcomes.”

Additional key findings from the Physicians Foundation survey

  • 18.5 percent of physicians now practice some form of telemedicine.
  • Only 31 percent of physicians are in private practice, down from 48 percent in 2014.
  • 80 percent of physicians report being at full capacity or being overextended.
  • 40 percent of physicians plan to either retire in the next one to three years or cut back on hours – up from 36 percent in 2016.
  • 46 percent of physicians plan to change career paths.
  • 69 percent of physicians are prescribing fewer pain medications in response to the opioid crisis.

The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and helps them facilitate the delivery of healthcare to patients. To access the full survey report and to learn more, visit physiciansfoundation.org.

Back to September 20, 2018 Medigram