Tired of being a physician? Run for congress

Survey shows that 64% of Americans would vote for their physicians if they were on the ballot

If you are tired of the administrative burdens of being a physician, perhaps a job in congress would better suit you.

A survey shows that Americans like the idea, with 64% saying they would vote for their physician if they were on the ballot, and highly regarded physicians running for public office are likely to be perceived favorably compared to their competition.

Respondents to the DrFirst survey said their physicians are:

  • Trustworthy and caring than most politicians (61%)
  • Knowledgeable of people’s health needs (54%)
  • Intelligent than most politicians (50%)
  • In tune with daily issues people face (40%)
  • Likely to make improved health care a national priority (34%)

“Physicians work hard to earn their patients’ trust,” said Colin Banas, M.D., M.H.A., chief medical officer for DrFirst. “Sometimes that trust inspires doctors to want to make a difference for their community beyond medical care.”

The bad news is that being a strong candidate doesn’t guarantee victory, so don’t turn in your two-weeks notice just yet.

While every election brings more and more doctors running for office, the number of doctors serving at any one time is increasing more slowly. There are currently 18 physicians serving in the U.S. Congress and nearly 100 in state legislatures.

The qualities that would inspire patients to vote for their physicians differ from those that would keep them as patients. Patients most want:

  • To be listened to and have their health concerns taken seriously (67%)
  • Enough time and attention to ask questions (55%)
  • A doctor with years of experience (46%)
  • Empathy, a personal connection, and an enriching doctor-patient relationship (45%)

Patients are more likely to seek another physician when these and other needs aren’t met, saying they are most likely to do so if:

  • Their doctor doesn’t listen to them or take their health concerns seriously (59%)
  • It takes too long to get an appointment (44%)
  • Their doctor has an unpleasant bedside manner (43%)
  • The location is too far (42%)
  • They feel rushed during appointments (39%)
  • Their doctor is often late to appointments (33%)
  • The office hours aren’t convenient (32%)

The doctor does not offer up-to-date digital experiences, such as an easy-to-use patient portal, electronic prescribing, electronic records, and online scheduling options (27%)

“As more people have ‘consumer-level’ expectations for their health care experiences, physicians should note what may lead their patients to look for other practices,” said Banas. “While some of the findings may be expected by most doctors, such as patients wanting to feel heard, a pleasant bedside manner, and convenient location and hours, others may catch them off guard. For example, over a quarter of patients say that not offering up-to-date digital experiences could be a deal-breaker.”