Most physicians burned out, overworked and 8 other survey findings

U.S. physicians continue to struggle with burnout and job satisfaction, according to a survey from the national, nonprofit Physicians Foundation.

The survey of 8,774 physicians was conducted by the foundation, with help from Merritt Hawkins, from early April through early June.

Here are 10 findings:

1. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they identified as independent practice owners or partners. That's down from 33 percent in 2016 and 48.5 percent in 2012.

2. Nearly 16 percent of respondents said they work 61-70 hours per week, on average, on clinical and nonclinical duties, down from 16.5 percent in 2016. Additionally, 4.7 percent of respondents work 81 or more hours per week, on average, compared to 6 percent in 2016.

3. On average, 27.6 percent of respondents see 21-30 patients per day (including office and hospital encounters), down from 28.1 percent in 2016. Additionally, 8.6 percent of respondents see an average of 31-40 patients per day compared to 8.8 percent in 2016.

4. Most respondents (80 percent) said they are at full capacity or overextended and overworked.

5. Most respondents (61.6 percent) said they are very or somewhat pessimistic about the future of the medical profession. Only 38.4 percent said they are very or somewhat optimistic.

6. Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported prescribing fewer pain medications amid the nation's opioid crisis.

7. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they sometimes, often or always feel burned out.

8. Respondents spend an average of 11.37 hours per week on nonclinical paperwork. That's an increase from 11.29 hours in 2016 and 10.58 hours in 2014.

9. Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) plan to change career paths, and 17 percent plan to retire in the next one to three years.

10. Respondents cited EHR design/interoperability as the top reason for professional dissatisfaction and physician-patient relationships as the top reason for professional satisfaction.

Access the full survey results here.


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