Along with Linda Girgis, MD, we co-hosted a TweetChat earlier this year to shed some light on the biggest predictions and expectations in healthcare for 2018 (check out the recap). Commentary and insights from those who participated painted a dismal picture for the year ahead. With this in mind, we developed a 10-question survey to get a better idea of how physicians felt about the healthcare system and what they expected for the near future. The survey was hosted by SERMO for several weeks and completed by more than 1,000 of its physician members, across more than 60 specialties and sub-specialties.

Read Dr. Girgis’s take on the survey results here. As she points out, not all respondents answered every question. Duplicate respondents and those who answered from outside the US were eliminated. All respondents were verified MDs or DOs currently practicing in the US. The results were found to be statistically significant at the 95% confidence level with +/-3% range of error. Following is an in-depth view of  what we found.

(click on all images to enlarge them)

 

Confidence in the System Lacking
We found the following when physicians were asked about their confidence in the healthcare system:

When broken down by specialty, the responses to this question look like this:

Survey participants were next asked about their views on the opioid epidemic, and we found the following:

Broken down by specialty, the responses look like this:

Patient Concerns
We found the following when physicians were asked about their patients’ views of healthcare reform:

Broken down by specialty and sub-specialty, responses to this question are as follows:

Question 4 in the poll focused on government support of patient access to care, with results looking like this:

When breaking the answers down by specialty and sub-specialty, we found:

A Lack of Hope

Physicians provided the following results when asked about the overall healthcare system:

By specialty and sub-specialty, the answers to this question appear as such:

When asked whether they felt patient care and healthcare access would improve during 2018, physician participants had the following responses:

A breakdown by specialty and sub-specialty shows which physicians had or did not have hope, as well as those who felt improvement wasn’t needed:

Looking Ahead

The focus of the poll turned to possible solutions to the current healthcare system, with physicians’ responses about proposed plans showing the following:

By specialty and sub-specialty, the responses to this question look like this:

Taking things a step further, we can compare how each plan among the possible answers was voted on by each specialty/sub-specialty versus all physicians in the specialty/sub-specialty who answered the question, starting with Maintaining the Original Affordable Care Act (ACA):

Then Modifying the ACA:

Repealing and Replacing the ACA:

Paul Ryan’s Patient’s Choice Act:

And “Other”:

We then asked physicians about the biggest issues in 2018 and found the following:

By specialty/sub-specialty, the answers to this question look like this:

Taking things a step further, we can compare how each issue among the possible answers was voted on by each specialty/sub-specialty versus all physicians in the specialty/sub-specialty who answered the question, starting with Government Mandates:

Then Increasing Healthcare Costs for Patients With Health Insurance:

Medical Bill Debt:

The Opioid Epidemic:

Reimbursement and Overhead Costs:

Third Party Interference:

and “Other” issues:

Question 9 of the survey asked physician participants about the effects of hospital system consolidation on patient relationships in 2018, revealing the following:

By specialty/sub-specialty, responses look like this:

The final question of the poll gave physicians the option to select all that apply when asked what they felt will improve healthcare in 2018. Answers to this question looked like this overall:

Looking at the answers by specialty/sub-specialty revealed the following:

Taking things a step further, we can compare how each potential solution among the possible answers was voted on by each specialty/sub-specialty versus all physicians in the specialty/sub-specialty who answered the question, starting with Developing a Single Payer Healthcare System:

Then Fewer Mandates:

Greater Pharmaceutical and Insurance Company Transparency:

New Practice and Payment Models:

Reevaluating Bureaucratic Interventions:

and Repealing and Replacing the ACA:

Our hope is that the results of this survey shed some light on the issues currently facing physicians and their patients and provide hard statistics to help start conversations that lead to potential solutions.