In an online questionnaire of 24,000 doctors representing 25 specialties,only 54%, said they would choose medicine again as a career, down from 69% in 2011. Just 41% would choose the same specialty again. Only a quarter of doctors said they would choose the same practice setting, compared with 50% a year ago. Why such frustration and discontent among physicians? The Medscape survey cites declining incomes, excessive paperwork, and vast uncertainty about changes dictated by the Affordable Care Act.
Especially for patients over 65, doctors must fill out multiple layers of insurance forms. A single elderly patient can have Medicare, and then secondary and tertiary insurance coverage, all of which require separate forms.
The Medscape survey also describes how hospitals are buying up private practices both in primary care and other specialties. This makes some doctors feel less independent and discouraged, says Howard Forman, a professor at the Yale School of Management who researches diagnostic radiology, health policy and healthcare leadership. “The transformation of the field from independence and professionalism to being commoditized and feeling like you’re just another worker is disheartening to some,” he says.