Thursday, April 8, 2010

How many doctors will leave medicine this year?

Several sources of information have suggested that doctors may be more likely to leave clinical medicine by 2014.  Groups (including us here at have conducted surveys, some have published their results, others are probably afraid to publish them.  On, we see one story titled, "45% Of Doctors Would Consider Quitting If Congress Passes Health Care Overhaul." This was published back in September 2009. I wonder how these numbers will change now that we're in April 2010.  Then, the Medicus Firm published a survey on the NEJM  and suggested that "Health Reform May Lead to Significant Reduction in Physician Workforce." This survey was conducted before the reform bill was passed. How have physician attitudes been affected?

Here on, we surveyed our members last month and here's what we found when over 100 physicians responded to our survey:

  • 31% primary care/general medicine, 60% specialists
When asked, "Do you support the new health care reform bill?"
  • 28% say yes, 52% say no, 20% say "I'm not sure yet." 
When asked, "now that the health care reform bill has passed, are you more motivated to leave clinical medicine?
  • 33% say yes, 23% say no, 23% say they've already left clinical medicine, 1% say they're retired, and 20% selected "other"
When asked, "Are you more motivated to switch to either a cash practice or a concierge/boutique practice?"
  • 28% say yes, 19% say no, 25% say they're not in clinical practice, 14% say these practice models are not relevant to me, 5% say they're already in a cash practice
When asked, "What percentage of your physician colleagues are thinking about leaving clinical medicine?"
  • 12% say "less than 5%," 11% say "5 to 10%," 19% say "10 to 30%," 18% say "30 to 50%," 7% say "more than 50%," and 33% say "not sure."
When asked, "How do you think your medical career will change over the next 5 years?"
  • 24% say "I will stay in my current practice," 9% say "I will move to a salaried position," 12% say "I will change my practice model (cash or concierge), 52% say "I will leave clinical medicine," and 3% say "I will retire."

When asked, "How many years have you been in practice?"
  • 7% say "never practiced medicine," 16% say "less than 5 years," 23% say "5 to 10 years," 30% say "10 to 20 years," and 24% say "more than 20 years"
So, how many physicians will leave clinical medicine in the near future? How many doctors will look for alternative careers? How many will be searching for non-clinical jobs?

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