Burned out physicians voice their frustration and dissatisfaction

February 06, 2019
Heather Lavoie, President


Frustrated female physician staring out window

Just in time for HIMSS 2019, we’re releasing the complete results of our physician satisfaction survey.

Among the most notable findings are:

  • The Physician Misery Index, a tool Geneia created to measure national physician satisfaction, has increased to 3.94 out of 5.
  • 89 percent of physicians say the “business and regulation of healthcare” has changed the practice of medicine for the worse. The intensity of agreement has increased over time; today, 57 percent strongly agree, up from 48 percent in 2015.
  • 80 percent say they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career
  • Nearly all surveyed doctors (96 percent) report they have personally witnessed or personally experienced negative impacts as a result of physician burnout.
  • The physician burnout gender gap is real as female respondents are more likely to know a physician who is likely to stop practicing medicine due to burnout, consider options outside clinical practice at a higher rate, and personally feel more at risk for burnout.
  • Physicians who are employed by hospitals and corporations are more dissatisfied and burned out than those who work independently and in physician-owned practices.
  • 86 percent of physicians agree that “the heightened demand for data reporting to support quality metrics and the business-side of healthcare has diminished my joy in practicing medicine.”
  • A significant majority (68 percent) say they lack appropriate staff and resources to use EHR data to its full potential.

Download the report

I’ll confess there is a part of me that worries we run the risk of people becoming immune to the issue of physician burnout and dissatisfaction due to the sheer number of surveys.

That’s why I want to share with you some open-ended answers from the 300 physicians we surveyed. In their own words, physicians said:

  • “Too much time spent on numbers rather than patients. It’s impossible to do both!”
  • “Get rid of the busy work so doctors can focus on the patients and not focus on checking on each box so the EHR looks good.”
  • “I hate being a ‘data-entry specialist.’”
  • “Physicians need to go back to being able to spend time with patients and stop having non-medical people tell them they need to see more people. Physicians are putting in hours and hours of unpaid time finishing work.”
  • “Data analysis should be used to benefit the care of the patient and make the physician's life easier.”
  • “Physicians shouldn't be expected to be the source of data entry.”
  • “We collect a large amount of information that doesn't do anybody any good. We either need to start doing something positive with that information or stop mandating that it be collected in the first place.”
  • “Eliminate need for repeating information. Avoid meaningless numbers, insignificant digits.”
  • “Work flow at this point is redundant and time consuming. Different software companies and health systems still are not closely enough integrated to improve work flow.”
  • “It needs to be more clinician-friendly; I feel that I have little to no input on its implementation.”

Restoring the Joy of Medicine

Like many conditions, there isn’t an easy fix to restore the Joy of Medicine. Nevertheless, we believe there’s a role for each of us to play, especially health IT companies. That’s why we’re calling on our peers and competitors to join us and involve physicians in the design and implementation of health technology products and to measure physician satisfaction.

To make it easier for health IT companies to participate, we created a nine-question physician survey that’s free to use. Physicians can also compare their answers to the national results.

Take the physician health IT satisfaction survey and compare your results

Learn more about how health industry leaders can help restore the joy of medicine.

Help Restore Joy of Medicine


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