National Survey Provides “State of the Union” of the Medical Profession

Posted on September 24, 2018

Physician responsibilities iconThe newly released Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives addresses a wide range of questions about who physicians are and how they practice.  

Merritt Hawkins, an Endorsed Business Partner of the MHA, conducts the survey biennially on behalf of The Physicians Foundation. The survey is based on nearly 9,000 physician responses and reveals data touching on some of the most pressing trends and challenges in healthcare today, including:  MHA Endorsed Business Partner

  • Physician burnout. Burnout is a concern, with 78 percent of physicians sometimes, often or always having feelings of burnout. Due to these feelings, 46 percent of physicians plan to make a major change in their practices. The burnout rate is higher for female physicians than for males. 
  • The physician shortage. Eighty percent of physicians indicate that they are at full capacity or are overextended and do not have time to see more patients. Physicians are working fewer hours and seeing fewer patients on average, contributing to the physician shortage.
  • Poverty/the social determinants of health. Eighty-eight percent of physicians surveyed indicate that some, many or all of their patients have a social condition that poses a serious impediment to their health. 
  • Opioid use. The majority (69 percent) are prescribing fewer pain medications in light of the opioid crisis.  
  • Employed vs. independent physicians. While employed physicians work 3.4 percent more hours than practice owners (a counterintuitive finding), they see 11.8 percent fewer patients.
  • Value-based payments. Only 47 percent of physicians indicate that any of their compensation is tied to value-based payments. Valued-based payments comprise about 14 percent of the total income of these doctors.

The physicians from Michigan who responded to the survey provided a range of interesting data. The survey indicates that 30 percent of Michigan physicians remain in private practice, ranking the state 23rd in percentage of doctors who are private practice owners or partners (Nevada is first at 47.8 percent).  

Merritt HawkinsMore than 82 percent of Michigan physicians indicated they are either at capacity or are overextended and unable to see more patients. This is slightly higher than for physicians nationally and ranks Michigan 10th among states with the busiest physicians. Despite being busy, only 77 percent of Michigan physicians indicated they sometimes, often, or always experience feelings of burnout, which is slightly less than the national average.

The Survey of America’s Physicians is one of the largest and most comprehensive physician surveys conducted in the U.S. and includes a wealth of data and analysis of interest to anyone who follows physician practice and workforce trends. For more information, contact Ben Jones, regional vice president of marketing, Merritt Hawkins.


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  • National Survey Provides “State of the Union” of the Medical Profession

Tags: burnout, Endorsed Business Partner

Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Member News

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