The pressures of practicing medicine in the United States are negatively affecting physician health and the way patient care is delivered, according to results from the MDVIP Physician Health Survey.
“In order to provide effective personalized care, doctors need more time with patients to get a clearer picture of their overall health, emphasize prevention, and coach on lifestyle habits like diet and exercise,” Andrea Klemes, DO, chief medical officer at MDVIP, said in a press release. “Yet today, doctors are pressured to see more patients and to spend less time with each.”
Investigators from MDVIP conducted an online survey of 200 U.S. primary care physicians aged 35 years or older, including internists, family medicine doctors and other general practitioners, to better understand how their job-related experiences affect their health and their patient’s health.
The survey revealed that a majority of PCPs do not get enough sleep (76%) or exercise (75%) and report that these shortcomings are due to heavy workloads. In addition, more than half of PCPs are overweight or obese (55%) and say that one of the main barriers to making optimal food selections are their job demands (60%).
“While primary care doctors are on the frontlines of managing their patients’ health, many physicians are neglecting their own,” Klemes said. “On the other hand, doctors who ‘walk the talk’ build credibility with their patients and, as a positive role model, are more likely to motivate patients to make lifestyle changes that improve their health.”
The high-pressure work environment that physicians endure prevent them from bettering their health, according to the survey. Sixty-eight percent of PCPs reported that their life was negatively impacted by work stress. Too much paperwork and bureaucracy contributed to most of their stress levels (74%), followed by new technologies, such as EHRs (43%), and long working hours (39%).