Survey finds rising ‘misery index’ among doctors

Geneia study reports 87 percent say the ‘business and regulation of health care’ has changed the practice of medicine for the worse


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U.S. physicians are reporting an increasing rate of burnout among their peers, according to a survey conducted by Geneia, the health care technology and clinical solutions firm with offices in Concord.

According to the survey, 87 percent of physicians say the “business and regulation of health care” has changed the practice of medicine for the worse. It also found that 78 percent of physicians “say they frequently feel rushed when seeing patients.”

In addition, the survey found that 67 percent of physicians know other doctors who are “likely to stop practicing medicine in the next five years as the result of physician burnout.” That figure includes younger and more experienced doctors, according to Geneia.

And only 25 percent of respondents reported that they were “very satisfied with the work itself.”

In addition, 51 percent of respondents reported they had considered another career outside clinical practice. For younger doctors who have been practicing for less than 10 years, 62 percent said they have considered other career choices. 

Joy of Medicine

A result of the survey, which canvassed 416 full-time physicians around the U.S., is Geneia’s “Physician Misery Index,” which it says stands at 3.7 out of 5, “indicating that the scales are tipping from satisfaction to misery.” 

“We found that most physicians still love medicine but increasingly are frustrated by the business of medicine,” said Heather Lavoie, Geneia’s chief operating officer. “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 percent of respondents believe that quality patient time may be a thing of the past.”

Geneia has launched an online competition to find ways to reduce the misery.

The Geneia Joy of Medicine Challenge is soliciting ideas “on how to best restore the meaning behind the practice of medicine” and will offer $1,000 cash prizes and $5,000 worth of consulting services to the winners in three categories – electronic health records of the future, population health and the joy of medicine.

The online contest, open through April 29, will be judged by a panel of physicians as well as through online peer voting.

The contest is being coordinated by Geneia and Medstro, a physician-focused social professional networking and career development resource. Winners will be announced in May and invited to a live “pitch off” of their ideas later in the year.

Physicians interested in joining the challenge can visit https://medstro.com/groups/joy.

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