Physicians Relatively Happy with Their Careers

How happy are physicians with their careers?

In a recent survey of 1001 physicians,

• About 84% said they like being a physician.
• Nearly as many were happy with their choice of specialty.
• Yet, two-thirds said they used to enjoy being a physician much more than they do today.

More than half do not regret anything about their choice of a career path. However, one-in-five would choose a career outside of medicine if they could go back and do it all over again.

What bugs doctors?

• Four-in-ten believe there is too much interference by third-parties;
• Nearly 14% believe their ability to practice independently is slipping.
• Nearly three-quarters have no interest in becoming a patient-centered medical home.

About 10% are working in a direct-pay practice, while 43% are considering it. Yet, nearly 40% believe high deductible health plans and cost-sharing are a barrier to good health care for their patients.

Most docs are workaholics

• Only one-quarter work fewer than 40 hours per week,
• About 46% work more than 50 hours per week.
• Understandably, 70 percent don’t have as much personal time as they wish they had.

Only about half believe they have a good work/life balance. Just over half do not believe they can afford to sacrifice income to work less.

Comments (3)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    Overall there really wasn’t anything very surprising about the results. Doctors generally like their work but wish they had less interference from payers. At the same time, they tended to view patients’ price sensitivity, due to cost sharing, as a distraction from their ability to work. They work long hours and most would like to work less. However, physicians work long hours because — as economist would say — the cost of leisure time is expensive because doctors are well paid for what they do.

  2. Perry says:

    Most docs are now spending many extra hours on non-clinical documentation requirements that have little or nothing to do with good patient care. This is a huge waste of time that could be better spent taking care of patients.

    • Devon Herrick says:

      This may partly explain why doctors work so many hours. It may also explain why more about half of physicians are either in a direct-pay practice or considering changing their practice to direct-pay.