Strained Healthcare System Hurts Doctors and Affects Patient Care
Survey finds system pressures are affecting physician health and the way patient care is delivered; majority of doctors admit often writing prescriptions or referring patients to specialists due to time constraints
BOCA RATON, Fla., Sept. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The demands of practicing medicine in the U.S. are taking a toll on physicians' health and impacting the way doctors care for patients, according to findings from the MDVIP Physician Health Survey released today.
The MDVIP survey of U.S. primary care physicians, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, finds that most doctors (83 percent) are spread so thin that they aren't able to spend enough time with their patients. As a result, more than half of physicians (54 percent) admit they often end up writing prescriptions or referring patients to specialists because of time constraints.
"In order to provide effective personalized care, doctors need more time with patients to get a clearer picture of their overall health, emphasize prevention and coach on lifestyle habits like diet and exercise," said Dr. Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer at MDVIP. "Yet today, doctors are pressured to see more patients and to spend less time with each. The survey data suggests that this may lead to unnecessary medications and referrals, which can increase medical costs."
MDVIP, a national network of over 950 primary care physicians, commissioned the Ipsos research to better understand the experiences and practices of internists, family doctors and general practitioners when it comes to their patients' health as well as their own.
The research reveals that many doctors aren't practicing what they preach.
Three out of four doctors report not getting enough sleep (76 percent) or enough exercise (75 percent), attributing the shortfall to their heavy workloads.
Over half (55 percent) are overweight or obese.
60 percent say the demands of the job prevent them from making optimal food choices.
Dr. Klemes added, "While primary care doctors are on the frontlines of managing their patients' health, many physicians are neglecting their own. On the other hand, doctors who 'walk the talk' build credibility with their patients and, as a positive role model, are more likely to motivate patients to make lifestyle changes that improve their health."
One of the barriers to better physician health is their high-pressure work environment. Two out of three doctors say that work stress is negatively impacting their life (68 percent) and makes them feel like they're on a treadmill that continues to speed up (66 percent). What's contributing most to their stress levels? Too much paperwork and bureaucracy top the list (74 percent), followed by new technologies like electronic medical records (43 percent) and working long hours (39 percent).
These demands on doctors may also have long-term consequences, including physician burnout. The MDVIP study finds that 41 percent of primary care doctors have seriously contemplated quitting medicine due to work stress, and 48 percent would not pursue a career in primary care if they had to do it all over again.
"The time and relationship that patients have with their primary care doctor are the foundation of good health," said MDVIP CEO Bret Jorgensen. "Unfortunately, our current healthcare environment shifts the focus away from the doctor-patient relationship, resulting in lower satisfaction and impersonalized care. For this reason, more and more consumers and doctors are choosing alternate models of healthcare like MDVIP that prioritize a more personalized patient experience and enable physicians to do what they do best – help keep patients healthy."
About the Study These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted July 12 - 17, 2017, on behalf of MDVIP. For the survey, a sample of 200 primary care physicians ages 35 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to have a professional degree (M.D., D.O., etc.), be employed full-time or self-employed, work in family practice/internal medicine/general practice/geriatrics, and follow a practice model that does not include any form of membership-based or retainer-based medicine. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 7.9 percentage points for all respondents surveyed. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls.
All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=200, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=9.4). For more information about Ipsos online polling methodology, please visit https://goo.gl/yJBkuf.
About MDVIP MDVIP leads the market in membership-based healthcare that goes far beyond concierge medicine services. With a national network of more than 950 primary care physicians serving over a quarter million patients, MDVIP is at the forefront of consumer-directed care. MDVIP-affiliated physicians limit the size of their practices in order to invest the time needed to provide patients with highly individualized service and attention, including a comprehensive annual preventive care program and customized wellness plan. Published research shows that the MDVIP model saves millions of dollars in cost to the healthcare system through reduced hospitalizations and readmissions. For more information, visit www.mdvip.com.