The results of Geneia’s Physician Misery Index study are in and the numbers paint a dismal portrait of the life of a physician today:
An overwhelming number of the 400+ physicians who participated in the study – 87% – said that the “business and regulation of healthcare” have changed the practice of medicine for the worse.
78% of them said they felt rushed while seeing patients.
A majority of the physicians did not feel satisfied with work-life balance, nor did they feel that they had control over their workdays.
Despite their education and skills, 51% of these physicians said that they’d considered career options outside of clinical practice at one point. Those numbers were even higher among those who were only 10 years into their practices, with 62% of early-career physicians having considered a new career path.
Even more troubling is that two-thirds of these physicians reported knowing of a physician who is likely to stop practicing medicine in the next five years as a result of physician burn out.
As one physician in the study put it:
“To me, the joy of medicine is getting to know patients over time and working with them to improve or maintain their health. Given regulations, decreased compensation and more administrative demands, that ability is becoming less.”
Clearly, we’ve got a problem.
“We found that most physicians still love medicine, but increasingly are frustrated by the business of medicine,” Heather Lavoie, Geneia’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a press release this morning. “For most physicians, the ability to create meaningful relationships with their patients and truly impact health outcomes is why they entered the practice of medicine in the first place, and is critical to experiencing joy in their work. Yet 84% of respondents believe that quality patient time may be a thing of the past.”
This is why Geneia has created the Joy of Medicine Challenge, an open-platform, online competition on Medstro that seeks ideas from licensed U.S. physicians on improving physician-hood as a career and a lifestyle. Suggestions on restoring meaning to the practice of medicine will be voted on by peers and experts. The winners in each of three categories – the EHR of the Future, Population Health and the Joy of Medicine – will receive a $1,000 cash prize. One winner will receive consulting from Geneia (valued at $5,000) to help refine their idea.
For example, in Geneia’s Physician Misery Index study, physicians indicated that data and analytics tools have tremendous potential for making the work of a doctor easier (especially by saving time in record keeping and allowing for more time spent with each patient). Solutions that keep in mind facts like these – that physicians don’t hate new technology, but that these new technologies need to be built with insight from doctors – will be given special attention in the competition.
Think you’ve got the proverbial silver bullet of healthcare tucked in your pocket? Submit your ideas. Finalists will be announced in May 2015 and invited to a live pitch off later this year.
“Today’s physician is juggling increasing demands, and the level of stress and burnout is escalating,” said Dr. Jennifer Joe, CEO of Medstro and MedTech Boston’s Editor-in-Chief. “It’s high time we involve physicians in creating solutions to restore their joy in practicing medicine.”
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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