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.


Key Findings

The Physicians Foundation’s Part Three of Three: 2022 Survey of America’s Physicians delves into barriers impacting physicians’ ability to deliver care to patients and their overarching outlook on being a physician. We also examine factors that affect primary care and its role to enhance access and improve health outcomes for patients. This report is also intended to spur action and drive change around strategies and solutions physicians have identified as vital to enhance physician practice and, ultimately, to improve patients’ health outcomes.

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 report being at full capacity.
  • Approximately one in three physicians have experienced a reduction in staff.
  • Approximately one in five physicians reported cutting back on their work hours.

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

  • Physicians report staff shortages across all staffing roles with registered nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, physicians and licensed practice nurses (83% – 90%) having the most shortages
    The most impactful contributing factors for shortages were:

    • 85% rated administrative burdens
    • 79% rated increased working hours without compensation
    • 71% rated reduced salaries/benefits

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

  • 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 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 challeng

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

  • 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.

  • 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