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Physicians Disillusioned by How EHR Systems, Value-Based Care Changing Profession

Analysis  |  By Gregory A. Freeman  
   October 09, 2018

Nearly three-quarters of physicians in a recent survey would not recommend the profession to family members, citing the lost 'art of being a physician.'

Physicians are increasingly discouraged about their profession, largely because of electronic health records (EHRs) and value-based reimbursement, according to the results of a recent survey.

They are so disillusioned that 70% are unwilling to recommend the profession to their children or other family members, according to the nationwide Future of Healthcare Survey of more than 3,400 physicians by liability insurer The Doctors Company.

More than half of physicians say they are contemplating retirement within the next five years, including a third of those under the age of 50, the survey found. Male physicians are more likely to retire than females, 56% vs. 48%.

"Given that women are more likely to report they are primary care physicians [PCPs] (44% vs. 29%) and men are much more likely to report being surgical specialists (42% vs. 28%), the burdens leading doctors to retire may be felt less on the PCP level," the report says. "The average age for men who took the survey was 62 years old, while the average age for women was 55 years old. Older physicians share the sentiment that today's doctors have too many obstacles to success, and the art of being a physician has been lost."

Respondents indicated they have not wavered in their advocacy for preserving the doctor-patient relationship and providing high-quality care.

These are some other findings of the survey:

  • 54% of physicians believe EHRs have had a negative impact on the physician-patient relationship.
  • Half of physicians believe value-based care and reimbursement will have a negative impact on overall patient care.
  • 61% of physicians believe EHRs are having a negative impact on their workflow, with many suggesting that EHR requirements are a major cause of burnout.
  • 62% of physicians say they don't plan to change practice models, perhaps indicating that the pace of practice change seen in recent years may have run its course.
  • 61% of doctors believe value-based care and reimbursement will have a negative impact on their practice.
  • 63% of doctors believe value-based care and reimbursement will have a negative impact on their earnings.

Physicians also are hesitant about participating in bundled payments, the survey report says.

"Doctor appear mixed on bundled payments, with 48% not planning to participate and 52% either planning to participate, undecided, or needing more information," the report says.

Gregory A. Freeman is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.

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