Top 5 Physician Concerns for 2015: How You Can Help

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Physicians are frustrated and fed up with the latest healthcare reform changes. The main issue? They feel the new mandates, which include an increase in paperwork and patient load, will decrease the quality and time they have to spend with their patients. A survey of 20,000 doctors led by Merritt Hawkins highlights the five main issues of contention of physicians.

Top 5 Pressing Concerns of Physicians

  1. Due to consolidation, physicians are moving from smaller practices to larger healthcare systems. Doctors feel this will hurt competition, increase costs across the board, and place limits on the choices of medical care for patients.
  2. The increase of government regulations and documentation takes time away from patient interaction and clinical time, which means decreased job satisfaction.
  3. ICD-10 (the new outpatient diagnostic code set that will be mandated on October 1st of this year) will require physicians to modify the way they document patient care. 75 percent of those surveyed feel it will unnecessarily complicate coding and cause “severe administrative problems.”
  4. Medical care costs vary so greatly from hospital to hospital that both physicians and patients are frustrated with the lack of transparency.
  5. Access for patients will create “a formidable challenge to the healthcare system in 2015 and beyond,” due in part to the influx of newly insured patients seeking care — resulting in 44 percent of physicians surveyed planning to reduce patient access in their offices or clinics by retiring, cutting back on patient panel size, working part time, closing their practice to new patients and taking non-clinical jobs.

How do the physicians surveyed plan to combat these issues? President of The Physicians Foundation Lou Goodman, Ph.D., summarized the challenges ahead in a press release issued on December 15, 2014:

“The coming year will again be one of major transition of the U.S. healthcare system. Regulatory and marketplace forces are having a number of unintended effects, including challenging the viability of smaller medical practices, reducing patient choice and putting tremendous strain on the physician/patient relationship. It is paramount that policy makers bring physicians into the fold to ensure the policies they implement are designed to advance the quality of care for America’s patients in 2015 and beyond.”

While healthcare talent and learning management professionals may not necessarily be able to sway or directly influence the decisions of policymakers, there are two fairly simple ways that you can help alleviate the concerns of your organization’s physicians.

Listen and Provide Support

Healthcare organizations can look at new ways to encourage physicians rather than letting them slip through the cracks due to the new healthcare system changes. Forbes notes several ways in which you can motivate physicians that moves beyond these new rules. First of all, trust in them to do their jobs, while being available to assist with concerns or to answer questions regarding the new regulations. Too many impediments will cause physicians to bow out of the race altogether. Too many policies, as we can already see, are forcing physicians to walk away from a lifelong passion of helping people who are sick or in need of medical care. Start by asking your physicians what they need to do their job better. Be honest and transparent about the upcoming changes, and listen to what your physicians are telling you. By giving them the opportunity to express their concerns, you put the power of their work abilities back into their hands. Hear what they have to say and provide assistance where you can.

HealthcareSource NetLearning for Physician Training

Another way to assist physicians is to offer ongoing opportunities for education and training. Learning management systems, such as HealthcareSource NetLearning®, give physicians with hectic schedules the freedom to prepare for and educate themselves on ICD-10’s upcoming coding changes, healthcare mandates and the effect on their workplace on their own time. Use NetLearning to offer programs, tailored to the very specific needs of the physician audience, so they can more easily keep up with the latest changes in the healthcare system. By understanding the ins and outs of the newest rules and documentation requirements on a systemic scale, you’ll limit confusion and prepare your organization for the changes ahead.

Do these five concerns align with what you’re hearing from your organization’s physicians? Share your tips for easing their apprehension in the comments below. We’ll randomly select one commenter on February 6th to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

P.S. View a product tour of HealthcareSource NetLearning or schedule a 15-minute conversation to see how a learning management system that is designed specifically for healthcare can transform training and development at your organization. 

Valerie Granuzzo

About Valerie Granuzzo

Valerie Granuzzo is the Marketing Programs Manager at HealthcareSource. Valerie is responsible for the development of our educational webinars and marketing programs pertaining to our L&D solutions.

  • Antique Nguyen

    Thanks for sharing. I agree with putting the physicians’ work abilities back into their hands.

  • Tim Horrigan

    The health care industry is in a bad habit of continually asking our physicians to do more and more administrative and paperwork ‘hassles’. We have been trying to frame our questions to physicians around their natural training about making diagnoses (not just checking a box, or following a protocol). Sometimes, the conversations are difficult when I ask them ‘what are you really treating’ when their documentation is not clear, but they do love to talk about their patients, and are usually quite interested in knowing more of the story.

    • Valerie Granuzzo

      Tim, that’s great insight! I love the idea of taking your questions and framing them around their natural training and responsibilities. Great tip! (P.S. I’ll be reaching out to you via email with the information for your gift card.)