Majority of Physicians Pessimistic about the Future of Medicine, New Report Finds


The Physicians Foundation has released the results of their sixth biennial Survey of America’s Physicians, and the findings are startling.

The survey “took the pulse” of nearly 9,000 U.S. physicians across the country, and examined, at its heart, what they think about the current state of the medical profession.

Over all, the findings indicate being a physician is an evolving medical profession, which continues to struggle with issues of burnout and low morale, despite more physicians now working fewer hours and seeing fewer patients.

Below are some key findings from the report:

  • 62% of physicians are pessimistic about the future of medicine.
  • 55% of physicians describe their morale as somewhat or very negative, which is consistent with findings in previous years.
  • 78% of physicians sometimes, often or always experience feelings of burnout.
  • 80% of physicians are at full capacity or are overextended.
  • 49% of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career to their children.
  • 46% plan to change career paths.
  • 46% of physicians indicate relations between physicians and hospitals are somewhat or mostly negative.
  • Physicians indicated patient relationships are their greatest source of professional satisfaction, while EHRs are their greatest source of professional dissatisfaction.

The survey also includes a portion where physicians are welcome to write in their own comments. Some of those highlighted in the report include:

  • “I could not in good conscience recommend medicine to a young person. It isn’t a profession anymore, it’s a business enterprise. If I had wanted to be a businessman, I’d have taken a less demanding path.”
  • “I am no longer a professional, I am an employee and treated with less respect and consideration than previously.”
  • “As a physician in her late 40’s, I have unfortunately seen the practice of medicine evolve from caring for the patient to caring for the administrator. The focus is on ticking off boxes rather than improving the health of the individual or community.”

Do you think the numbers and comments highlighted here accurately portray the overall sentiment of physicians today?

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

3 Comments

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  1. 1
    Charles W Sheppard

    You forget the increasing government control over our practice. CMS can come in and mandate all kinds of (IMO) time and cost consuming changes based on no evidence and no consideration of the opportunity costs and we have no choice but to “take the education” redo our processes etc. When they can “mandate” the firing of employees in the face of everyone else thinking it is an easily remedied problem you know we have lost control of our practice.

  2. 2
    Orthopedics

    What were we expecting when Obama and the government took control of health care. Of course we are now employees to the government, chained to a sad situation with administrators making business decisions for us while we sit back and have allowed this to happen. Our kindness and passivity has penalized us to this point. Health care that really cared about people is departing quickly while ticking off boxes and fulfilling business mandates is progressing. There is still a chance to capture the future but it will take a team concerted effort.

  3. 3
    George N Cooper jr

    In 1966, I finished surgical training. My attending surgeons/teachers, were all doing ok because they were being reimbursed acc to their expertise and training. so they paid it forward and spent time with us, because they CARED! and for the most part didn’t get reimbursed. We were all taught to own the problem, and solve it. If it was your patient, it was still your patient after 5pm and all through the night . I don’t go according to an administrator, or an EMR. (the nuns taught me cursive, so I can write). The administrators and IT industry are wagging the dog. The patient is being left behind. And he/she doesn’t know any better.

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