The new Doctors Company National Survey of Physicians found that seven out of 10 doctors wouldn't recommend healthcare as a profession. This is an even stronger feeling in Florida and Illinois, where 80% of doctors said they do not urge others to go into the industry.
The survey found that EHRs and regulations are causing burnout. More than half of respondents said EHRs are negatively affecting the physician-patient relationship (54%), hurting efficiency and productivity (61%) and damaging workflow (61%).
- Meanwhile, the new Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) 2018 Regulatory Burden Survey released Tuesday echoed concerns about regulations and EHRs. A whopping 86% of 426 medical group practices surveyed said regulatory burdens increased for their medical practice over the past 12 months.
The two survey results were mostly negative and showed growing burnout issues for physicians, which should be concerning for healthcare stakeholders and policymakers. There are familiar themes in both surveys: excessive regulation, EHR burdens and pessimism about value-based contracting.
The country is already expecting to face a doctor shortage in the coming years. Losing half of physicians to retirement will only exacerbate problems.
The Doctors Company report of 3,412 physicians found that more than half of physicians surveyed said they plan to retire within five years. They blamed sagging reimbursements, increased administrative burden and industry consolidation for reasons they want to leave the profession.
The MGMA survey also offered grim results about regulations, as medical groups cited increased regulation as a problem. That's been key for the Trump administration, which has been promoting decreased red tape for doctors — an aim physicians largely support. The survey found that 94% of respondents said regulatory cuts would allow their practices to allocate more resources to patient care.
Doctors aren't excited about new payment models either. Nearly half of physicians in the Doctors Company survey spoke negatively about value-based care. Only 15% of respondents expect such models to have a positive impact.
Two concerns cited about value-based care were that pay-for-performance contracts won't take into account "nuances of the doctor-patient relationship" and that it focuses too much on population health and not enough on the individual. Also, 61% said value-based care and reimbursement will have a negative impact on their practice and 63% said it they will hurt their earnings.
Meanwhile, the MGMA survey found that 90% said Medicare and Medicaid value-based payment programs increased regulations and 76% said it didn't improve the quality of care.
The Doctors Company report discovered that nearly half of respondents said they don't plan on participating in bundled payment programs. Only 14% said they're willing to participate. CMS sees bundled payments as a key way to improve quality, but it's clear there's still skepticism among doctors. The Trump administration supports voluntary payment programs, but critics say mandatory efforts are the only way to get an accurate view of whether the models are successful.
Accountable care organizations are seen as another way to control costs and improve quality. However, more than four in 10 physicians surveyed said they won't participate in ACOs and 56% said they don't expect to take part in patient-centered medical homes.
These sobering results show that CMS, regulators and healthcare stakeholders need to address these problems or potentially face a doctor exodus.