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Why 70 percent of physicians would not recommend the profession

More than half of physicians say they're contemplating retirement in a few years -- including an alarming number of those younger than 50.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Seven out of 10 physicians are unwilling to recommend their chosen profession to their children or other family members, according to the nationwide Future of Healthcare Survey of more than 3,400 physicians released by The Doctors Company.

WHY IT MATTERS

Physicians' feelings about their jobs are so bad that more than half say they are contemplating retirement within the next five years, including a third of those under the age of 50, the survey revealed.

In their responses, many of which were written, physicians voiced frustration at how electronic health records and value-based care and reimbursement are compromising the traditional doctor-patient relationship, indicating their advocacy for preserving this relationship in the interest of providing the best care possible.

Among other findings were that 54 percent of physicians believe EHRs have had a negative impact on the physician-patient relationship. And about half of physicians believe value-based care and reimbursement will have a negative impact on overall patient care.

Meanwhile, 61 percent of physicians believe EHRs are having a negative impact on their workflow, with many suggesting EHR requirements are a major cause of burnout. 

Sixty-two percent of physicians said they don't plan to change practice models, perhaps indicating that the pace of practice change seen in recent years may have run its course.

THE BIGGER TREND

Despite so many hospitals and technology vendors innovating to ease physician burnout,  

The problem remains a common and pervasive issue in healthcare, caused by many factors, from fatigue and scheduling to data maintenance and EHR headaches.

New statistics on burnout crop up often these days. A Medscape report earlier this year found that close to half of U.S. physicians feel burnout symptoms, and a significant amount, 15 percent, feel depressed.

Some have proposed teaching "emotional intelligence" to physicians as a possible means of combating the problem. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others and to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.

Other proposals include simplifying EHRs and using technology to streamline practice workflow.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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