Healthcare is one of the most important sectors of the US economy. In fact, the number of visits to see a physician in the US is about 1.2 billion appointments each year. During these visits, physicians address the various needs patients have. They include both minor concerns and life-threatening conditions.
Unfortunately, the level of morale expressed by professionals in the healthcare sector is not always as high as we would all like and even seems to be in constant decline. This downward spiral has dire consequences for ordinary people seeking quality services.
A nationwide survey, commissioned by the Physicians Foundation, involved sending emails to 84% of the active physicians in the country. More specifically, the US has 750,000 active physicians, which translates to about 630,000 emails. The emails delivered successfully totaled to about 600,000 ones, but the number of responses to them were not so impressive – just 13,575.
Merritt Hawkins, which is a reputable company when it comes to healthcare surveys in the US, completed this study in September 2012. The questions sent to the respondents revolved around the perception physicians had on the state of healthcare in the US.
Seventy-seven percent of the respondents were either unenthusiastic or even highly pessimistic when it came to describing the future of American healthcare system. In fact, 57.9% of those who responded to the emails said they would not recommend their profession to young people. Moreover, 60% of the respondents said they would retire immediately if they had the means to do so. These statistics show that there is something wrong with the US healthcare system given the level of pessimism physicians expressed. Improving this sector is critical because the US faces a shortage of 90,000 physicians by the first quarter of this century.
Currently, physicians spend 22% of their time on doing non-clinical paperwork, as the survey revealed. They are also seeing fewer patients each day today than they were seeing in 2008. Though frustrated by the present healthcare system, 82% of them have said they don’t believe there is anything they could do to change the situation.
In summary, most experienced physicians feel that the healthcare system in the US is in continuous decline. On the other hand, younger physicians don’t tend to be so pessimistic and express more hope in the US health care system than their older counterparts. So perhaps there is a ray of hope in the end.