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Monday, September 22, 2014

SURVEY: U.S. PHYSICIANS OVERWHELMINGLY DISHEARTENED; TEXANS EVEN MORE SO


Overworked physicians, harried by mountains of federal regulations and the looming switch to ICD-10, seeing little help from electronic health records (EHRs), their clinical autonomy threatened, are pessimistic about the state of the medical profession, according to one of the largest and most comprehensive physician surveys conducted in the United States. Texas physicians were even more negative. The 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives, conducted by The Physicians Foundation, queried more than 20,000 physicians nationwide. More than 1,800 Texas physicians responded to the survey. Among the key findings:
  • Nationally, 55 percent are “very” or “somewhat” negative about the current state of the medical profession. Among Texas physicians, that figure is almost 64 percent.
  • Half of all physicians and 61 percent of Texas physicians are “very” or “somewhat” negative or pessimistic about the future of their profession.
  • About 80 percent of all physicians, and a like share of Texans, say they are “overextended and overworked” or “at full capacity.”
  • Physicians spend a staggering 20 percent of their time on nonclinical paperwork.
  • Half of all U.S. physicians, and 58 percent of the Texans, say the switch to ICD-10 next year will “create a severe administration problem.” Only 11 percent of U.S. doctors and 8 percent of Texas physicians say the shift will “improve diagnosis or quality of care.”
  • About 80 percent of Texas physicians — and 85 percent of the entire sample — say their practice has put an EHR system in place. Almost one-third of those nationally, and a quarter of the Texans, say the EHR has improved the quality of care. But across the board about one-fourth say it has detracted from the quality of care, nearly half say it has detracted from practice efficiency, and almost as many say it has detracted from the quality of patient interaction.
  • When it comes to clinical autonomy, almost 18 percent of Texas doctors and 15 percent of physicians nationwide say “my decisions often are compromised.”
I will drill down into some more specific data sets from the survey in coming weeks.

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