September 21, 2012

A Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives

The Physicians Foundation conducted one of the largest physician surveys ever undertaken in the U.S. to provide doctors with a clear voice on the most pressing issues facing our nation regarding the delivery of healthcare. The survey examines physician morale, practice patterns, patient accessibility and career plans.

Comprehensive Survey of 13,575 U.S. Physicians Points Toward Substantial Challenges for Patient Access and Growing Physician Shortages if Current Trends Continue

Executive Summary: American patients are likely to experience significant and increasing challenges in accessing care if current physician practice patterns trends continue, according to a comprehensive new survey of practicing physicians.  One of the largest physician surveys ever undertaken in the U.S., the research was commissioned by The Physicians Foundation.

Physicians are working fewer hours, seeing fewer patients and limiting access to their practices in light of significant changes to the medical practice environment, according to the research, titled “A Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives.”  The research estimates that if these patterns continue, 44,250 full-time-equivalent (FTE) physicians will be lost from the workforce in the next four years.  The survey also found that over the next one to three years, more than 50 percent of physicians will cut back on patients seen, work part-time, switch to concierge medicine, retire, or take other steps likely to reduce patient access.  In addition, should 100,000 physicians transition from practice-owner to employed status over the next four years (such as working in a hospital setting), the survey indicates that this will lead to 91 million fewer patient encounters.

To access the full research report, please click here.