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Joy of Medicine

Employed physicians more dissatisfied than independent doctors

November 28, 2018
Hospital and corporate physicians have higher levels of physician burnout than independent doctors.
Aurel Iuga

Without a doubt, physicians are increasingly employed by hospitals, health plans and corporations

The Physician Misery Index is nearly 4 out of 5

Earlier this year, Geneia updated its physician research and discovered the nationwide Physician Misery Index has climbed to 3.94 out of 5 since our inaugural survey in 2015.

The survey also found:

  • 89 percent of physicians say the “business and regulation of healthcare” has changed the practice of medicine for the worse
  • 80 percent say they are personally at risk for burnout
  • 96 percent report they have witnessed or experienced physician burnout impacts such as cynicism, severe stress and dissatisfied patients

Employed physicians are more dissatisfied

Geneia’s survey of 300 full-time physicians who have been practicing post-residency for more than four years also revealed that doctors who are employed by hospitals and corporations are more dissatisfied and burned out than those who work independently and in physician-owned practices.

  • 60 percent of all physicians agree “it happens more and more often that I talk about my work in a negative way”
  • 69 percent of corporate/hospital-owned physicians say they talk about work in a more negative way compared to 51 percent of independent physicians, an +18 percentage point gap in opinion between ownership models

Nearly all physicians (96 percent) report they have witnessed or experienced physician burnout impacts such as cynicism, severe stress, dissatisfied patients and lower empathy for patients. Physicians working in corporate or hospital-owned organizations were even more likely to witness or experience the negative impacts of physician burnout.

  • 57 percent of independent physicians report lower empathy for patients as the result of physician burnout compared to 72 percent of corporate/hospital-owned physicians, a gap of 15 percentage points

To read the full report comparing the sentiment of corporate/hospital-owned physicians with independent physicians and those who work for physician-owned practices, click here.

Join Geneia in reversing epidemic levels of physician burnout

The costs and implications of epidemic levels of physician dissatisfaction are high. Given the trend of hospitals and health plans acquiring physician practices combined with higher levels of physician burnout among these employed physicians, research shows more patients are at risk for a safety incident.

That’s why we’re calling on all health IT companies to involve physicians in the design and implementation of health technology products and to measure physician satisfaction.

All healthcare and health IT companies are invited to join Geneia in monitoring and addressing physician satisfaction and to use the company’s nine-question physician survey.

For more information about Geneia’s Joy of Medicine initiative and to download the physician satisfaction survey, see:

Physicians who wish to take the survey and compare their answers to the national results are invited to visit: