The population is aging and demand for doctors is increasing. At the same time, doctors are less satisfied with their work so fewer people are interested in becoming doctors. We need innovative ways, like Stanford Hospital’s time in the bank program, to ease the load on physicians and encourage more people to join their ranks.
Research shows that doctors are more likely to experience burnout than other workers in the United States and more likely to be unhappy with work-life balance. Doctors typically work more hours a week than other professionals, and many are exhausted from their work. A recent survey of physicians from all specialties* shows that almost half of doctors, 45.8 percent, report at least one indication of burnout.
Physicians who practice emergency medicine, neurology, internal medicine, family medicine have the highest risk of burnout. Many of these practitioners suffer from heavy workloads and loss of autonomy. But of those, only neurologists were unsatisfied with work-life balance.
Physicians who practice dermatology, pathology, preventive medicine and general pediatrics have the lowest rates. Those doctors practicing general pediatrics, dermatology and preventive medicine also had the highest satisfaction levels with work-life balance.
At the same time that physicians are experiencing decreasing job satisfaction, demand for physicians is increasing. The affordable care act has led to a 2 percent increase in the demand for physicians. And, with the population is aging, demand for physicians is expected to grow by 17 percent by 2025.
The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a need for 12,500-31,100 more primary care doctors than we will have in 2025 and a need for between 28,200 and 64,700 more specialists.
*Survey data is based on responses from more than 7,000 doctors in all practice specialties.