Assessing the State of Physician Practice and the Strategies to Improve It

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The Physicians Foundation’s Part Three of Three: 2022 Survey of America’s Physicians assesses the state of physician practice and strategies to improve it.

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Part 3

Key Findings

Part Three of The Physicians Foundation’s 2022 Survey of America s Phyfosciucseisaonnsthe state of physician practice and the strategies to improve it. The survey was conducted from September 28 through October 7, 2022, and the data presented is based on 1,501 responses. Complete methodology is available on page 27 of the full report.

The current state of the health care system has affected physicians’ views on their profession.

  • Nearly half of physicians do not have high professional morale.
  • More than half of physicians do not have positive feelings about the current state or future of the medical profession.
  • Half of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career to young people.
  • More than one in five physicians would like to retire within the next year.

Physicians are facing capacity issues that impact their ability to deliver care to patients.

  • One-third report their current practice is overextended and overworked, and nearly half of physicians report being at full capacity in their current practice.
  • Approximately one in three physicians have experienced a reduction in staff over the past year.
  • Approximately one in five physicians reported cutting back on their work hours.

Physicians have identified which solutions would support them the most in addressing staff shortages.

  • More than half of physicians place high importance across each of the proposed solutions*, with the top four being:
    • 94% rated removing low-value work as helpful
    • 92% rated eliminating insurance approvals as helpful
    • 92% rated offering customized retention strategies as helpful
    • 89% rated addressing burnout among physicians/staff as helpful

When it comes to primary care specifically, physicians are facing mounting challenges.

  • Physicians identified the top four challenges impacting primary care’s role in providing high- quality, cost-efficient health care:
    • 85% report administrative burdens, such as EHRs and prior approval as a challenge
    • 70% report lack of insurance for patients as a challenge
    • 64% report not prioritizing mental health integration as a challenge
    • 63% report pay-for-performance measurement as a challenge

Staff shortages are a main driver of concern about the capacity of the health care system.

  • The majority of physicians report staff shortages across all the respective staffing roles, with the following roles having the most shortages:
    • 90% reported shortages of registered nurses
    • 86% reported shortages of nursing assistants
    • 85% reported shortages of social workers
    • 84% reported shortages of physicians
    • 83% reported shortages of licensed practice nurses
  • Among physicians who reported staff shortages, the most impactful contributing factors were:
    • 85% rated administrative burdens as impactful
    • 79% rated increased working hours without compensation as impactful
    • 71% rated reduced salaries/benefits as impactful
  • Additionally, almost one-quarter of physicians rated experiencing violence in the workplace as a contributing factor to staff shortages.

Physicians have identified which strategies would most improve primary care’s role
in enhancing access and improving health outcomes for patients.

  • At least half of physicians place high importance across each of the proposed strategies**.
    • 86% rated reimbursement for responding to questions through emails, texts or telephone calls as important
    • 84% rated building partnerships to foster preventive health discussions, such as vaccinations, to reach critical populations, such as rural and low-income communities, as important
    • 76% rated revaluating reporting requirements to align with delivering quality care as important

Physicians identified which actions would help the entire profession ensure access to high-quality, cost-efficient care for all.

  • The majority of physicians place high importance across each of the proposed actions***.
    • 93% identified simplifying/streamlining prior authorization for medical services and prescriptions as important
    • 88% identified reimbursing physicians for providing telehealth services as important
    • 88% identified simplifying access to integrated mental health services as important
    • 88% identified advancing interoperability of EHRs as important

* Full list of solutions included on page 23
** Full list of strategies included on page 15
*** Full list of actions included on page 13