Healthcare executives, we have a problem. 1 in 5 U.S. doctors plans on cutting back on traditional clinical work by next year. This is just one of the glaring realities recently published research paper by Mayo Clinic, "Professional Satisfaction and the Career Plans of US Physicians."
Even those doctors sticking in traditional practice have one eye towards alternatives. 26.6% of doctors said they will definitely leave their current practice in the next two years. About 2% of doctors are considering quitting medicine all together in the next two years.
What do doctors want out of their careers? Their demands are quite reasonable - more time with patients, less administrative headaches, and more work-life balance.
Why Doctors are Dissatisfied
Frankly, no surprises. Doctors are more burned out than any profession, have less work-life balance than comparable professions, and have become disenfranchised with traditional healthcare delivery bogged down in administrative tasks.
Today a primary care doctor now spends more than half of their workday on administrative tasks, not treating people. Insurance red tape, federal regulations and bureaucratic compliance have removed physician's from why they entered the field, to change people's lives.
Google "physician job satisfaction" and you will find hundreds of articles and research papers over the last 4 years telling a similar story.
"[Physicians are the] canary in the coal mine" of US health system disfunction says American Medical Association President David Barbe, ""An energized, engaged, and resilient physician workforce is essential to achieving national health goals… Yet burnout is more common among physicians than other U.S. workers, and that gap is increasing as mounting obstacles to patients [sic] care contribute to emotional fatigue, depersonalization and loss of enthusiasm among physicians."
This physician malaise is more than making doctors happier. The cost of replacing a doctor can cost up to $800,000 or more to replace a physician. Doctor retention and satisfaction should be health care's number 1 priority.
This affects all of us, both in terms of better care and the cost of healthcare delivery. US is already heading towards a physician shortage. Who will pick up the bill for physician recruiting issues? Consumers in the form of higher medical bills.
Wheel = Healthcare Industry Optimism
Telehealth and digital health opportunities may offer the cure for the US physician malaise. Most professional careers have seen an improvement in work-life balance thanks to 21st century technology. Healthcare, unfortunately, has been slower to evolve. However, in 2017 we're reaching a critical mass of Telehealth job opportunities that allow doctors to work wherever and whenever they want.
Doctors looking to improve work-life balance can still help care for patients, even working from home! Find better work-life balance with the Wheel clinician team.