Earlier this year, The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization, set out to conduct the largest survey of medical practitioners ever undertaken in the U.S. to examine the morale, career plans and practice metrics of today’s doctors.
Results are in and they paint a less than rosy picture.
“A Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives” was conducted by Merritt Hawkins from March to June of this year and included responses from 13,000-plus physicians. The survey found that over the next one to three years, more than 50 percent of physicians will cut back on seeing patients, start working part-time, switch to concierge medicine, retire or take other steps – all likely to reduce patient access.
Access the full report here.
The extent of pessimism
An overwhelming 80 percent of physicians cited “patient relationships” as the No. 1 most satisfying part of their job. Yet the vast majority of respondents, 77 percent nationally, are pessimistic about the future of medicine.
“The level of pessimism among America’s physicians is very troubling,” said Lou Goodman, Ph.D., president of The Physicians Foundation and CEO of the Texas Medical Association. “More than 84 percent of physicians feel that the medical profession is in decline, and nearly 58 percent are reluctant to recommend medicine as a career to their children. That means we need to make significant changes to ensure that we preserve the patient-physician relationship and continue to have the brightest minds going into medicine.”
The Indiana response
In total, 13,575 physicians nationwide responded to the survey and 1.3 percent (179 physicians) of that total represents responses from Indiana. Doctors in our state tracked very closely to their colleagues nationally.
About 60 percent of state respondents said if they had it to do over, they would still choose to be a physician. But more than 60 percent said they would not recommend medicine as a career to their children.
In a deviation from the national norm, only 36.8 percent of Indiana doctors plan to “continue as I am” in the profession, whereas nationally that number was 49.8 percent. Also noteworthy, more than 50 percent of Indiana respondents provide $50,000 or more in uncompensated care each year. Nearly 90 percent described their income as flat or declining.
To see the Indiana responses, visit here.