More than 8 in 10 physicians are struggling with patient engagement, dealing with impacts of the Affordable Care Act and keeping up with the latest research, according to latest survey from Wolters Kluwer Health.
Findings come from the Wolters Kluwer Health 2013 Physician Outlook Survey of more than 300 practicing physicians in the fields of primary care, family medicine and internal medicine. The survey was conducted by Ipsos.
Physicians in the U.S. report the following challenges:
- Managing shifting reimbursement models with payors (91 percent)
- financial management of their practices (90 percent)
- Patient engagement (spending time with their patients) (88 percent)
- Dealing with the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (84 percent)
- Keeping up with the latest research (83 percent)
- Improving patient care (78 percent)
- Utilizing health information technology in my practice (77 percent)
- Managing increasing patient volumes (73 percent)
Financial management challenges are coming from increasing costs, healthcare IT adoption and the Affordable Care Act/increasing legislation.
ACA Physician Impact
When asked specifically about impacts of the Affordable Care Act, 84 percent cite this as either very or somewhat challenging for their practice. Seven out of 10 physicians (67 percent) say the Affordable Care Act is a top contributor to rising healthcare costs and three in five say uninsured patients are driving up costs.
Health IT Adoption
When it comes to health IT adoption, more than half of physicians agree that progress is being made in leveraging HIT to ensure patient safety and improve patient care. Fifty-one percent also cite progress in leveraging electronic medical records to advance evidence-based medicine. However, a majority of physicians believe that little to no progress has been made with HIT in the areas of:
- Ensuring ease of use (56 percent)
- Improving patient relationships (61 percent)
- Increasing efficiency/saving time (66 percent)
The least progress was reported around managing the cost of healthcare.
Top Physician Focus Area for Next 3-5 Years
When asked about their top focus areas for the next three to five years, physicians cite increasing their practice’s efficiency (48 percent), exploring different business models such as mergers, becoming part of a hospital system or patient-centered medical homes (34 percent) and adopting technology to improve clinical decision making or support evidence-based decision making (31 percent). Patient safety came in last as a focus area.
Growing Physician Attrition
More than one-third of physicians say they are likely to leave their practice in the next 1-2 years, including 15% who
are very likely to do so. Findings show that 34 percent said they are very or somewhat likely to leave. The top reason is that it is hard to make their practice profitable, as cited by 29 percent of physicians. Another 15 percent say the field is no longer rewarding.
The Wolters Kluwer Health 2013 Physician Outlook Survey was an online survey conducted by Ipsos of more than 300 physicians in the U.S. from a national sample of qualified practicing primary care physicians. Respondents were in the fields of primary care, family medicine and internal medicine. The survey was conducted in April 2013. This is a bi-annual survey first conducted in 2011.
For more information on the survey, visit http://www.wolterskluwerhealth.com/News/Pages/MediaSource.aspx.
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