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Despite health care changes, physicians remain happy

Even with ICD-10 creating challenges, the rules governing “meaningful use” of EHRs in a state of flux, and the shift in reimbursement from volume to value, U.S. physicians are still happy in their careers.

That’s according to the 2015 Great American Physician Survey, sponsored by medical billing software provider Kareo and conducted by Physicians Practice, a publication of UBM Media. In this year’s survey, 1,001 physicians nationwide shared thoughts on their medical careers, their personal lives, and the politics affecting the health care industry.

When asked to characterize their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, the average rating was a 7.3. It was the same average when physicians were polled on their own health. When asked to what extent they agree with the statement, “I like being a physician,” 84 percent of physicians selected either a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 as their reply.

There were, of course, frustrations with their career and the practice of medicine. These include:

  • 53 percent of physicians saying they wish they could work fewer hours
  • 38 percent noting higher deductibles and higher patient cost sharing as the largest barrier to good health care for their patients
  • 69 percent of physicians indicating they don’t have as much time for their personal life as they wish
  • 51 percent disagreeing with the statement, “I have a good work-life balance.”

There’s also lingering uncertainty on how quality metrics and regulatory measures will affect physician compensation in the near future. But overall, physicians are finding ways to stay content while practicing medicine.

From turning to technology to finding a new place to practice—or new practice model altogether—physicians are retaining their love for medicine and providing excellent patient care.

“Make no mistake about it, the difficulties physicians are facingregulatory demands from the federal government, other third-party interference, and long hoursare still very much there. Yet, despite this reality, physicians are still finding joy in the practice of medicine and maintaining a high overall level of happiness and healthiness,” said Gabriel Perna, managing editor of Physicians Practice.

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