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2012 Great American Physician Survey Data

2012 Great American Physician Survey Data

  • Healthcare's business landscape is shifting and physicians are expressing new attitudes toward their work and personal lives. According to our 2012 Great American Physician Survey (read our full story here), more of you are pursuing less demanding work schedules and exploring new models of care, while feeling less optimistic about the future of medicine. We asked dozens of questions to gauge your attitudes toward your careers, the state of your personal happiness and physical health, your views on politics and healthcare policy - even your family lives. The result is the clearest view into the state of the American physician community available anywhere, and you can find it here exclusively.
  • A majority of our 2012 respondents were specialists in urban settings across the U.S.
  • Nearly half of all respondents work at medical practices with five or fewer physicians.
  • Despite the Affordable Care Act and possible pay cuts due to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula, an overwhelming majority of practices plan to keep accepting Medicare patients.
  • Offspring drop-off: The number of respondents who would encourage their own children to become a physician fell 10 percentage points from last year's Great American Physician Survey.
  • Stress and personal payoff were the two main reasons physicians gave for why they would not become a physician if they had it all to do over again.
  • Sixty-four percent of physicians are putting in "overtime," working between 41 hours and 60 hours per week at their practices.
  • Nearly half of physicians said they want to work fewer hours, but aren't willing to give anything up in return.
  • For the third year in a row, "unhealthy culture" in the workplace is a main reason physicians want to change jobs / employers.
  • More than 30 percent of physicians indicated that they would consider a concierge practice or switching to fee-for-service if it made sense economically.
  • Steady as she goes: Nearly 6 in 10 physicians plan to continue practicing medicine in five years the same way they are today.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 physicians say they've ordered tests to "cover the bases" versus being medically necessary.
  • Thirty-nine percent of physicians have altered their plans for retirement, up four percentage points from the 2011 Great American Physician Survey …
  • …and 45 percent say they will work full-time longer, up from 42 percent in last year's survey.
  • Eight in 10 physicians taking our 2012 survey are married with the majority of their spouses / partners working outside of the medical field.
  • More than 65 percent of physicians indicated they have children at home …and not enough time to spend with them.
  • Eat and greet: Dinner time is a priority for most physicians, with 32 percent indicating they eat dinner with family during the work week.
  • Six in 10 physicians have a regular primary-care physician of their own and get routine care. Only 5 percent indicate they smoke, down from 6 percent in the 2011 survey.
  • An overwhelming majority of physicians say you have to "walk the walk" when it comes to advising good health for your patients.
  • Drained docs: Five percent of physicians in this year's Great American Physician Survey said they feel "sad or run-down," that's nearly double the amount from 2010's survey.
  • All in all, physicians are pretty happy with more than half rating their individual happiness as an 8 or higher on a scale of 10.
  • Inadequate insurance is front and center as the largest barrier to good care, say physicians, while they see their industry replacing fee-for-service in the next five years.
  • With nearly 9 in 10 physicians planning to cast their ballots in November, Democrats will be the recipient of their votes by a slim margin over Republicans.
  • While pundits say the national race is still 50-50 for President Obama and Mitt Romney, the physician vote seems to favor four more years for the incumbent.
  • The number of physicians identifying themselves as "Independent" continues to grow: 21.3 percent in 2010; 25.6 percent in 2011; and now 26.8 percent in 2012.
  • Room for improvement: While a majority of physicians in the 2012 Great American Physician Survey support the healthcare reform law, they still think there's work to do.
  • Physician voices are being heard in Washington, D.C., but perhaps it's only a whisper as more than half of survey respondents say their profession is "not well represented" in the nation's capital.
  • Staying put: Most of the physicians taking our survey indicated that the Affordable Care Act has not changed the way they practice medicine to date. (Note: This question was asked prior to the Supreme Court's ruling on the ACA.)
  • Tort reform was the biggest area of needed change in healthcare, as identified by physicians taking the 2012 Great American Physician Survey, followed — at a distance — by health insurance "exchanges."


Is there anywhere to find what methodology you used for this survey?

k @
awesome survey - thanks for sharing!
bonnie cech @

Thank you for your inquiry. For this survey, we did not sort question data by state, so there's no way for us to know how of the Texas physicians taking our survey replied. The data you see is a national snapshot of physician sentiment.

Keith L. Martin
Managing Editor
Physicians Practice
Keith Martin @
Sure doesn't describe the majority of Texas physicians. Our research finds most Texas physicians are in the "mostly oppose it"or "strongly oppose it" camp.

Curious, can you release the geographic representation of your survey sample?
Steve Levine @

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