With the Affordable Care Act's full effect looming in 2014, U.S. physicians remain optimistic about healthcare and their role in keeping patients healthy, according to the 2013 Physicians Practice Great American Physician Survey, Sponsored by Kareo.
Now in its fifth year, the Great American Physician Survey gauges physicians' opinions on everything from politics to work-life balance, and measures their career satisfaction. This year's survey of 1,172 physicians was taken online during a four-month period beginning in January.
As they did in 2012, survey respondents ranked their overall happiness as an eight on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being happiest), and the vast majority of physicians are still satisfied with their career choice. Sixty percent said given the chance to go back in time and choose again, they would still become a physician. When looking into the future, 46 percent of physicians said in the next five years, they will continue to practice the same way they do today. Fourteen percent plan on retiring in that same time frame.
Still content with medicine and providing quality patient care, physicians did note key areas of frustration they face on a daily basis. Of the 40 percent who said they would not become a physician again given the chance to rethink their career path, 32 percent felt there was too much third-party interference in their practice operations. When asked to indicate the largest barrier to good healthcare for their patients, 37 percent of physicians identified a lack of adequate insurance coverage and 19 percent said they don't have enough time to adequately educate patients on better health strategies.
While the Affordable Care Act will broaden healthcare coverage and bring new patients into practices, only 49 percent of respondents in this year's Great American Physician survey said they strongly support the reform law or support it with minor changes. That's a decline of 6 percentage points from 2012.