Survey 9 of 10 health plans say they have a role in reducing physician burnout | Geneia

Survey: 9 of 10 health plans say they have a role in reducing physician burnout

June 17, 2019
Heather Staples Lavoie, President


One-third of health plans can name an action they've taken to improve physician satisfaction

At the risk of restating the obvious, physicians and clinicians are the heart of payer value-based care arrangements and absolutely vital to their success. With value-based care expected to account for 59 percent of healthcare payments by 2020, even more so for large health plans like Aetna and United, payers are increasingly dependent on physicians and invested in their well-being.

First, the good news

  • Physician burnout: 9 out of 10 health plans believe they have a role to play in reducing physician burnout.
  • Physician satisfaction: More than one-third of payers (34 percent) can point to specific actions they have taken and more than half (54 percent) are creating plans to improve physician satisfaction.
  • Prior authorization: Nearly two-thirds (58 percent) say they’re providing tools to physicians and providers to more easily obtain prior authorizations, up from 41 percent a year ago. This number jumps to 69 percent for large payers (5,001+ employees).
  • Quality: Payers also report improvement in another value-based care pain point for physicians – aligning reimbursement and quality improvement data to individual providers – with a year-over-year jump from 34 to 45 percent.

Large health plans report even more success in addressing physician burnout; 58 percent say they are effectively improving physician satisfaction compared to 36 percent of small payers. 

As the organization that created the Physician Misery Index to galvanize the healthcare industry to come together to remedy alarming rates of physician dissatisfaction, it is heartening to know payers are taking steps to reduce physician frustrations.

And now, the not-as-good news

As we’ve said before, there’s more we all can – and should do – to improve physician satisfaction and the ability of physicians to succeed in value-based care.

A HIMSS Media survey to help understand how payers are leveraging data to advance value-based care found health plans are missing data-driven opportunities to help physicians succeed in these reimbursement models. On the positive side, two out of three payers report they are sharing pharmacy data, medication adherence data and risk scores and two-thirds say they are extremely or very effective at helping value-based care providers flag high-cost conditions among members. 

Yet, the survey also revealed less than half of health plans are taking the following actions to help physicians achieve value-based care success:

  • Providing access to risk-assessment data/analytics to better manage population health (46 percent)
  • Sharing longitudinal claims information (43 percent) and social determinants of health (SDoH) data (38 percent)
  • Providing access to risk-assessment data/analytics to better identify and manage rising-risk members (36 percent)
  • Creating/managing programs to address SDoH (35 percent)
  • Providing access to multi-payer population health management tools (28 percent)

Similar to physician satisfaction, there are differences between large (5,001+ employees) and small payers. For example, 

  • 47 percent of large payers are providing population health consultants to help identify high-risk and rising-risk patients compared to 27 percent of small health plans. 
  • 71 percent of large plans report success in improving collaboration and alignment around shared cost and quality goals versus 38 percent of small payers. 

Improving Physician Satisfaction

Geneia is committed to measuring the satisfaction of physicians and sharing resources with payers, health IT companies and physician organizations to address physician satisfaction. For more information about how health plans can help reduce physician burnout and improve physicians’ ability to succeed in value-based care, click here.


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