A majority of physicians look negatively at their profession and are increasingly burdened by new reimbursement models, according to a new survey.
The Physicians Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports research on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on physician groups, surveyed 17,236 physicians across the U.S. (PDF) on a variety of issues related to their field.
The report highlighted low morale among a majority of physicians. Fifty-four percent of physicians rated their morale as somewhat negative or very negative and only 37% were positive about the future of their profession. This is a decrease, however, from 2012 when 68% of physicians described low morale when surveyed by the organization.
Further, 49% of physicians reported always feeling burned out. The same percentage also said they wouldn't recommend medicine as a career to their children.
The authors note the critical role physicians play to the healthcare industry and that “the potential repercussions of a physician having a 'bad day' are arguably higher than the bad days experienced by the great majority of other types of professionals.”
The report found physicians may modify their practice styles in order to cope with low morale, which could potentially reduce patient access to physicians. About 48% of surveyed physicians said they plan to reduce hours, retire, take a non-clinical job or switch to another medical field.
At the same time, physicians are increasingly burdened by new payment models, the report notes. Only 20% of physicians said they were familiar with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, a new 932-page Medicare payment model. Physicians also reported spending about 20% of their time on non-clinical paperwork.
With increased pressures to adhere to new compliance models, about 80% of physicians said they feel overextended or they are working at full capacity and 48% reported they don't have enough time to spend with patients.