Survey: Physicians Reveal Top Challenges, Financial Management Concerns and Focus Areas for Next 3-5 Years

Wolters Kluwer Health 2013 Physician Outlook Survey Explores Impacts of Financial Pressures, Affordable Care Act and Technology Adoption Progress

Jul 16, 2013, 09:00 ET from Wolters Kluwer Health

PHILADELPHIA, July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians in the U.S. are struggling with managing shifting reimbursement models with payors (91 percent), financial management (90 percent) and spending time with patients (88 percent) as the top three business challenges, according to a new survey from Wolters Kluwer Health. Financial management challenges are coming from increasing costs, healthcare IT adoption and the Affordable Care Act/increasing legislation.

When asked specifically about impacts of the Affordable Care Act, 84 percent cite this as either very or somewhat challenging for their practice. Seven out of 10 physicians (67 percent) say the Affordable Care Act is a top contributor to rising healthcare costs.

Findings come from the Wolters Kluwer Health 2013 Physician Outlook Survey of more than 300 practicing physicians in the fields of primary care, family medicine and internal medicine. The survey was conducted by Ipsos.

"Physicians are facing increasing pressure to create efficiencies across their practices and drive down costs while at the same time demonstrating improved outcomes for patients," said Sean Benson, Vice President of Innovation, Clinical Solutions, Wolters Kluwer Health. "To derive true benefits from HIT and EMR systems, physician offices and health systems must integrate clinical decision support into the workflow to enable improved decision-making at the point of care with patients."

Looking at the topic of Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) adoption, more than half of physicians agree that progress is being made in leveraging HIT to ensure patient safety and improve patient care. Fifty-one percent also cite progress in leveraging electronic medical records to advance evidence-based medicine. However, a majority of physicians believe that little to no progress has been made with HIT in the areas of ensuring ease of use (56 percent), improving patient relationships (61 percent) and increasing efficiency/saving time (66 percent).

When asked about their top focus areas for the next three to five years, physicians cite increasing their practice's efficiency (48 percent), exploring different business models such as mergers, becoming part of a hospital system or patient-centered medical homes (34 percent) and adopting technology to improve clinical decision making or support evidence-based decision making (31 percent).

Physicians were also asked about likelihood to leave their current practice in the next one to two years. Findings show that 34 percent said they are very or somewhat likely to leave. The top reason is that it is hard to make their practice profitable, as cited by 29 percent of physicians. Another 15 percent say the field is no longer rewarding.

Among other findings:

  • 83% of physicians find it challenging to keep up with the latest research
  • 80% at least sometimes use browsers such as Google and Yahoo for information, coming in as the second top physician information source after professional journals (84%)
  • 55% of physicians use both smartphones and tablets in their daily practice
  • Primary uses of smartphones are accessing drug information (72%), communicating with nurses and other staff (44%), accessing medical research (43%) and accessing evidence-based clinical reference tools at the point of care with patients (42%)
  • Mobile apps are the most heavily used digital/social media channel for physicians, used by 24%

For more information on the survey and to download an executive summary, visit

Survey methodology
The Wolters Kluwer Health 2013 Physician Outlook Survey was an online survey conducted by Ipsos of more than 300 physicians in the U.S. from a national sample of qualified practicing primary care physicians.  Respondents were in the fields of primary care, family medicine and internal medicine. The survey was conducted in April 2013. This is a bi-annual survey first conducted in 2011.

About Wolters Kluwer Health
Wolters Kluwer Health is a leading global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Serving more than 150 countries and territories worldwide, Wolters Kluwer Health's customers include professionals, institutions and students in medicine, nursing, allied health and pharmacy. Major brands include Health Language®, Lexicomp®, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Medicom, Medknow, Ovid®, Pharmacy OneSource®, ProVation® Medical and UpToDate®.

Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company. Wolters Kluwer had 2012 annual revenues of €3.6 billion ($4.6 billion), employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 40 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Follow @WKHealth on Twitter.

SOURCE Wolters Kluwer Health