Physicians are working less, seeing fewer patients & scaling back opioids – 10 survey insights

The Physicians Foundation and Merritt Hawkins released the 2018 Survey of America's Physicians Practice, which offersinsight into the state of healthcare.

The organizations collected 8,774 responses and 2,472 written comments.

Here are 10 insights from the survey:

1. Fewer physicians independently own practices. In 2012, 48.5 percent of physicians said they were independent.Today, that number is 31 percent.

2. In general, physicians are working fewer hours and seeing fewer patients. However, employed physicians work more hours and see fewer patients than practice owners.

3. Eighty percent of physicians said they're either at full capacity or overextended.

4. Concerning the state of the industry, 62 percent of physicians said they're pessimistic about the future.

5. In light of the opioid crisis, physicians are drastically scaling back pain medication prescriptions. About 69 percent now prescribe fewer pain medications.

6. Burnout remains a problem, affecting 78 percent of respondents.

7. Physicians said 23 percent of their time is spent on nonclinical paperwork.

8. Forty-six percent of physicians said they plan to change career paths.

9. On the state of health insurance, 26 percent of physicians favor a single-payer health system, 35.5 percent favor a single-payer health system with a private insurance option and 27 percent favor a market-driven system.

10. Eighty-eight percent of physicians said their patients' health is seriously threatened by their social circumstances.

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