Why America's Doctors Are Unhappy

April 23, 2014

America's doctors are increasingly unhappy in their jobs, says Daniela Drake, a Board Certified Internist in private practice in Los Angeles.

A whopping 9 out of 10 doctors discourage others from joining their profession, and more and more physicians are dissatisfied with their line of work. Why?

  • Being a primary care doctor is not the highly lucrative career that it is made out to be.
  • And it is becoming increasingly difficult to have a profitable primary care practice. Processing insurance forms alone cost $58 for each patient encounter, meaning that doctors have to increase the number of patients they see in order to make their practices sustainable.
  • The result? The average face-to-face visit between doctors and patients lasts only 12 minutes.
  • And doctors are worried that the Affordable Care Act does not fix this problem -- it codifies it.

The health care industry is highly focused on patient satisfaction, but high satisfaction scores are actually correlated with worse outcomes and higher health costs. Doctors need to be able to say no, not simply acquiesce to patient demands. But with Medicare payments now linked to patient satisfaction, this problem will only increase.

Primary care doctors are also overloaded with administrative tasks and insurance company disputes. And all of these things carry with them the specter of malpractice suits.

Piling more regulations and rules on top of doctors is not the answer to America's health care problems -- it will only drive away physicians and increase medical costs. People need to start worrying not just about the wellbeing of patients, but of their doctors.

Source: Daniela Drake, "How Being a Doctor Became the Most Miserable Profession," Daily Beast, April 14, 2014.

 

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