The Demoralized Doctor Epidemic

A new survey by Merritt Hawkins shows the following:

  • The majority of the 17,236 physicians surveyed (54%) describe their morale as somewhat or very negative, 63% are pessimistic about the future of the medical profession, 49% always or often experience feelings of burn-out, and 49% would not recommend medicine as a career to their children, according to the survey.
  • They spend 21% of their time on non-clinical paper work duties, according to the survey, while only 14% said they have the time they need to provide the highest standards of care.
  • About two-thirds (72%) said third-party intrusions detract from the quality of care.
  • A growing number of physicians (13.5%) said they will seek non-clinical, administrative jobs, 21% will cut back on hours worked, 11.5% will take temporary (locum tenens) positions, 10% will switch to part-time practice, 14% will retire, and 9% said they will switch to concierge medicine.
  • While 36% of physicians participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs), only 11% believe ACOs are likely to enhance quality while decreasing costs. Physicians also are dubious about hospital employment of doctors, another mechanism for achieving healthcare reform.
  • Two-thirds (66%) do not believe hospital employment will enhance quality of care or decrease costs. Even 50% of physicians who are themselves employed by hospitals, do not see hospital employment as a positive trend.
  • 80% of physicians are overextended or are at capacity, with no time to see additional patients
  • 48% of physicians said their time with patients is always or often limited
  • 46.8% of physicians plan to accelerate their retirement plans

To summarize, I would like to sarcastically quote Freddie Prinze and say “Looooooking good!!!”


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “The Demoralized Doctor Epidemic

  1. September 30, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Sent a diabetic yesterday to the ER for squeezing substernal chest pain and sweating relieved by nitroglycerin. He has had it for a while, but couldn’t get to see me, as he works as a scheduler for Another Big Medical Company in town and was too busy to get time off over the last week that he’s been symptomatic. He went to a Different Corporate ER, which gave him some proton-pump inhibitor for indigestion and stress, and sent him home. They told him to relax. I’m concerned that he might have The Big Relax. But that’s modern medicine for the proles.

  2. Kathy Crame
    September 28, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    One of the smartest. most caring physicisans I know (med-peds) had been practicing for about 18 years and I saw him the other day day and he has aged beyond his years. Having been one of the nurses who helped train him ,I had the nerve to ask him if he was ill.He replied, with a tear in his eye, that as of Nov, he would no longer be working at the local hospital system known for chewing up and spitting out health care providers,right down to the cleaning staff. It is breaking my heart to see this fine ,dedicated young man have his dreams shattered and having it affect his life and his ability to provide for his family. He has no idea what he can do next, but as much as he loves his work he can do longer stand the BS! This medical system has to change! Thanks for the opportunity to vent.So happy I am retired!

  3. Thomas Guastavino
    September 28, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Physicians are being herded into ACOs. You don’t have to look any further to see why they are not only demoralized but burning out and committing suicide in frightening numbers.
    ACO: Throw raw meat into the cage, watch the dogs fight over it, then take credit for the show

Comments are closed.