There is a great infographic from the March 2016 issue of Health Affairs entitled, “The Landscape of Physician Practice.”
Here are some interesting stats from the article:
- 81% of physicians say they are at or above capacity.
Translation: Most doctors ‘feel’ like they are working a lot, however…
- The average physician work week is 53 hours – down from 57 hours in 2008.
Translation: To me it is unclear if this statistic includes paperwork/time-on-the-EHR time or is just time seeing patients, because…
- Doctors spend 20% of their time on non-clinical administrative tasks.
Translation: Doctors are doing a lot of busy work that maybe they should not be doing.
- Only 35% of physicians are independent, down from 62% in 2008.
Translation: This is a BIG deal. Doctors are increasingly part of larger groups or hospital systems. Doctoring use to be somewhat of a ‘cottage industry,’ but that is no longer the case as more consolidation and (hopefully) integration have become the industry norm.
- 60% of doctors see 11-30 patients a day; 20% see more; 20% see less.
Translation: At 30 patients per day, that’s about 15 minutes per patient—keep in mind, not all of that time is face-to-face time. It also includes time reviewing medical record, labs, test results, etc.
- States with the highest per capita concentrations of physicians: Massachusetts (highest), MN, OH, NJ, VT, OR.
Translation: States with humongous medical centers (Harvard Hospitals, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic).
- States with the lowest per capital concentrations of physicians: SC, GA, AL, MS, AR, TX, OK, KS, WY, ID, UT, NV, IN, IA.
Translation: States that have rapidly growing populations and the doctor-population has not gown accordingly (e.g. TX and GA) and states that don’t have a lot of major metropolitan areas (doctors tend to like to live in big cities).
- Physician salaries are rising across most specialties including surgery, anesthesia, Ob-Gyn, Internal Medicine, and Family Practice and doctors are the highest paid profession in America.
Translation: In general, doctors make a lot of money. I will tell you there are wide variations, particularly comparing Academic Physicians vs. those in private practice. Starting salary for junior faculty at a university hospital/academic medical center is often $80,000/yr. Salary for a private practice orthopedic surgeon can be over $1,000,000.
- 55% of doctors view the current state of their profession as negative or very negative.
Translation: There is about a 50/50 chance that your doctor is not happy with his or her job.
As employee benefits professionals, doctors can be thought of as contractors/vendors to the health of your employee population and the drivers of your healthcare spending. Understanding doctors is key to understanding the health of your employee population and their healthcare expenses.
My own interpretation of these statistics (which could be wrong) is that employers have healthcare contractors/vendors (i.e. doctors) that are somewhat at their ‘whit’s-end.’ Being stressed-out does not lend itself to peak performance. To address this problem, 1) Find doctors that ARE high-performing and not stressed-out and 2) cultivate relationships with those physicians to maintain an on-going positive vendor experience.
I am biased of course, as this is what Compass does for our members every day. That being said, it can make the healthcare experience both high-quality and cost-effective for employees.
To learn HOW Compass does this for the employees at 2,000+ companies, visit compassphs.com