Physicians preparing for changes in patient care, but feeling burned out, new report finds

January 13, 2020

Doctors are actively preparing for the ways advancing technologies will change healthcare but are still feeling pressure and burnout.

Stanford Medicine’s 2020 Health Trends report shows physicians preparing for the data-driven future of healthcare.

The report used the responses of more than 700 doctors, residents, and medical students to examine which trends are pushing the profession into the future. The advances in the digital health market, legislation opening data access to patients, and artificial intelligence were seen as welcome drivers in the field, according to the report.

“We found that current and future physicians are not only open to new technologies but are actively seeking training in subjects such as data science to enhance care for their patients," says Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine, in a news release accompanying the report. "We are encouraged by these findings and the opportunity they present to improve patient outcomes. At the same time, we must be clear-eyed about the challenges that may stymie progress."

Some of the key takeaways from the report indicate respondents are adapting to the new developments in data-driven healthcare:

·      Respondents believe nearly one-third of their duties will be automated in the next 20 years

·      47 percent of physicians and 73 percent of students are seeking additional training to prepare for future developments in the field with        an emphasis on data-oriented subjects

·      34 percent of those seeking additional training are pursuing knowledge in artificial intelligence

Respondents also said they believe that self-reported health data can be useful in making healthcare decisions a majority of both physicians (70 percent) and students/residents (60 percent) use wearable health monitoring devices themselves, according to the report.

While physicians and students are preparing for the new data-driven landscape in healthcare, there is still a significant gap in readiness to implement these new technologies like telemedicine, personalized medicine, and genetic screening. Only 18 percent of students said their education was very helpful while 44 percent of physicians said their education was either not very helpful or not helpful at all, the report says.’

Still, physicians and those in training to become them are struggling with the burden of practicing medicine and that pressure is taking a toll, as about one in five respondents said they would change their career path is they had the chance. Top cited reasons were poor work-life balance and administrative burdens, the report says.