There have been a lot of changes in health care over the past few years. With so much changing in the health care profession, are providers overwhelmed or happy with these changes? How will the changes that are being asked of providers today affect how patients are cared for tomorrow? The 2016 Survey of America’s Physicians highlights some very interesting findings about physicians’ morale and ability to adapt.
When providers were asked, “Which best describes your professional morale and your feelings about the current state of the medical profession?”, 53.9% said somewhat or very negative while the remaining 46.1% said somewhat or very positive. How does this affect patients? Providers who are unhappy could retire, switch to concierge medicine or switch to a non-clinical position, all of which can limit patient access to the best care possible.
What Makes Them Happy? PATIENTS!
71% of physicians describe “patient relationships” as the most satisfying aspect of medical practice. While providers may go through some industry changes over the next few years and beyond, they will continue to value their relationship with their patients the most. The survey also found that after patient relationships, physicians value the intellectual stimulation of practicing medicine.
Ability to Adapt
Health care is an ever-changing landscape that keeps providers guessing at what might be coming next. Only 56.3% of physicians that took the survey indicated that they are very or somewhat unfamiliar with MACRA, or Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. MACRA made several changes to existing health care laws, including restructuring Medicare payments. It is the newest solution to the ongoing challenge of shifting Medicare payments from fee-for-service to value-based care. How will this type of quality-based incentive program affect providers who submit to Medicare? For most, these type of programs add a slight change in workflow, causing providers to focus more on documentation and billing, and less on actual face-to-face time with patients. A small number of providers (27%) have even started to limit the number of Medicare patients they see.
Advances in technology, particularly mobile technology, are able to offset the administrative burden so that doctors can get back the time for their patients. We need great mobile technology that can go where the doctor goes and allows them to spend more time being a doctor and less time acting like an accountant with an expensive medical degree. This extra time with patients can see downstream effects of improved provider productivity, overall better care and happier, healthier patients!