More than half of physicians have considered leaving medicine

Frustrations run so high that more than half of the physicians in a national survey have considered leaving the profession in recent years.

The majority of physicians say they have experienced burnout, feel overworked, and want more time to spend with patients and less with electronic health records (EHRs), according to the survey of 1,000 doctors conducted by locumstory.com. The study included doctors in private practice, hospital-based practice and other practice types throughout all medical disciplines across the United States.

The email survey found that 55 percent of physicians reported having consider quitting the medical field in recent years, with the majority (68 percent) blaming the amount of time they must spend entering data into EHRs. That is taking time away from patients, the surveyed doctors said. More than half of doctors (58 percent) said they spend less time with patients now than they did when they started their careers. And 59 percent of physicians say they want to communicate with their patients face-to-face rather than through text messages, email or other forms of digital communication.

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Doctors are also feeling overworked. Nearly two-third of physicians say they feel more overworked and have less free time now compared to when they first began practicing. Only 13 percent say they are less overworked. Some 22 percent of doctors said they spend more than an hour each day on paperwork. They are also suffering from poor work/life balance, the survey found. About 39 percent of doctors said they don’t think their facility supports a healthy work-life balance.

“As advocates of physicians, we wanted to gauge and understand the pains they feel as the healthcare landscape continues to evolve,” Bill Heller, president of Weatherby Healthcare, one of the supporters of locumstory.com, said in a survey announcement, “It is important that healthcare employers understand the challenges facing physicians and we all work to find solutions that will keep physicians from leaving medicine.”

Physician burnout is a growing problem that now effects more than half the workforce. Given the worries about physician shortages, burnout is also a factor in physicians’ decision to reduce the number of hours they devote to practice.

- read the survey results

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