By Steven Jacobs
List this study as Required Reading for healthcare marketing professionals. The 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives is not only one of the largest physician surveys, it lives up to its self-description as “an unrivaled resource of information on today’s doctors for hospital and medical group executives, physician recruiting professionals, members of the media, policy makers, the public and for physicians themselves.”
Healthcare’s shifting ground…
The research study summarizes the dynamic landscape and top-line issues: “In the two years since The Physicians Foundation last completed its Survey of America’s Physicians, the healthcare system in the United States has seen more changes than in any comparable two-year period in recent memory. Following are just a few:
- The enrollment of eight million people in insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- The enrollment of an additional five million Americans in Medicaid.
- An unprecedented number of hospital and medical group consolidations.
- The explosive proliferation of urgent care centers, retail clinics, and other outpatient facilities.
- The release of billing data by Medicare on thousands of physicians.
- The continued rapid adoption of electronic medical records (EMR).
- The implementation of quality-based tracking and reimbursement systems.
- The continued expansion of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
- A growing physician shortage, dramatically highlighted this year by long lines at Veterans Administration facilities.
Among the Findings…
Within the 70-page report—and over one million data points—the overall picture of healthcare and professionals is not uplifting. Notably, 80 percent of doctors say they are over-extended or at full capacity. And regarding physician morale—although improved somewhat over 2012—the study says “pessimism still remains high.”About this survey…
The biennial survey “paints a portrait of an evolving physician workforce whose practice styles and attitudes are changing. Based on over 20,000 physicians nationwide, this physician survey is conducted by Merritt Hawkins on behalf of The Physicians Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and help facilitate the delivery of healthcare to patients.
The full report—recommended reading for providers and marketing professionals—is available online at The Physicians Foundation site. And for related reading, see: Dissatisfied and Disappearing Doctors: The Changing Marketing Mix.