Reimbursement, patient approvals top doctors' concerns

July 11, 2012

Obtaining reimbursement from payers topped the professional concerns that physicians reported in a recent survey. Discover the other worries of survey participants, and see whether you agree.

Top concerns facing physicians today include obtaining reimbursements from payers and obtaining patient approvals, at 81% and 77%, respectively, according to the results of a recent national survey of doctors conducted by consumer health Web site Sharecare and physician directory the little blue book.

Additionally, 71% of responding doctors said they believe that the quality of healthcare will deteriorate over the next 5 years, 55% are afraid that they are not spending adequate time with their patients, and 38% are concerned that their daily patient volume is not high enough.

The survey included 1,190 practitioners in the United States representing more than 75 medical specialties.

Additional highlights:

Use of technology. Sixty-six percent of survey participants said that integrating electronic health records (EHRs) into their practices is a challenge, but the same percentage of physicians maintain that EHRs will improve or have a neutral effect on their business. Thirty percent of responding doctors said they are using laptops regularly for e-prescribing, accessing EHRs, and other uses. Twenty percent reported using smartphones for clinical purposes, and 12% said they use iPads for clinical purposes.

• Physician-to-physician communication. The telephone and fax machine remain the primary forms of communication that physicians use to communicate with one another, at 95% and 63%, respectively. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they communicate with other doctors in person, and 5% said they use social networking Web sites for professional communication purposes. Thirty-four percent of physicians participating in the survey said they communicate with other clinicians via email, which is not defined as a secure channel by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

• Physician-patient communication. Ninety-one percent of survey respondents said they speak with patients over the telephone, 84% communicate in person, 20% use email, 8% communicate with patients via personal health records, and 6% use text messaging.

Changing practice patterns. Twenty-two percent of doctors participating in the survey said they are in discussions to join an accountable care organization (ACO), up from 12% in last year’s survey. Seventeen percent of respondents said they were unfamiliar with the term ACO, down from 45% in last year’s survey. Of those respondents who said they were aware of ACOs, 37% said they would participate in one as a member of a group practice, 27% said they would take part in an ACO as a member of a physician-hospital organization, and 10% said they would participate in an ACO as a hospital employee.

Expanding the patient base. Survey participants said that their new patients find them via word of mouth (71%), practice networks referrals (33%), print directories (29%), and Web searches (22%).

Go back to current issue of eConsult

Related Content

Research aims to address electronic health record malpractice risks

Study finds no leaders in electronic health record systems for small practices

Technology usage climbs; EHR methods linked to quality of care

Meaningful use 2: Why an outdated communications infrastructure threatens patient care

Take new practice management technologies to the bank: Patients push for online services-so should you

x