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The Medical Profession's Future: A Struggle Between Caring For Patients And Bottom-Line Pressures.

Authors
  • Miller, Phillip1
  • 1 Phillip Miller ([email protected]) is vice president for communications at Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare, in Dallas, Texas.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health affairs (Project Hope)
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2016
Volume
35
Issue
3
Pages
407–410
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1533
PMID: 26953293
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

In this issue of Health Affairs, Lawrence Casalino and coauthors establish that physicians in common specialty practices spend an average of 2.6 hours per week dealing with external quality measures. This gives rise to general questions about the future of the medical profession. To what extent will quality-tracking requirements and similar practice intrusions reshape who physicians are, how many physicians there are, and how they practice? In turn, how will these changes affect patients' access to care? Data derived from the 2014 Survey of America's Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives, conducted by Merritt Hawkins on behalf of the Physicians Foundation, make it clear that physician practice patterns are evolving. Responding to an increasingly intrusive practice environment, physicians report that they will choose a variety of practice models likely to reduce patients' access to care or that they will retire early, which will exacerbate the physician shortage and fundamentally change the nature of the medical profession.

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