In a recently published article, an alarming trend regarding the number of doctors either leaving their practices or moving has increased by 43% between 2010 and 2018. Physician turnover is bad for patient care. If your doctors are constantly leaving and moving elsewhere or retiring, it is hard to build a long time relationship with a doctor that you know and trust.
Government healthcare mandates and programs are a major factor in this harmful trend. The authors of this article believe that between 2010-2014 many doctors retired because of mandatory electronic healthcare records. These same mandatory electronic healthcare records are a major source of physician burnout. The average physician spends about 20 hours per week on inputting and reviewing information on electronic medical records rather than providing patient care. Anyone who has been to a doctors office knows that the doctor can spend more time inputting information into the electronic medical record than they do talking to and examining the patient. Practicing medicine should be focused on talking to, examining and building rapport with their patients, not on government-mandated computer data entry.
Many people mistakenly advocate for a single payer government run healthcare system that would also help our underserved communities and reduce healthcare disparity, but this study proves the opposite.
According to this study doctors in rural areas were more likely to move or retire. Female doctors were more prone to turnover than male doctors. This is particularly problematic because approximately 37% of practicing doctors are women. Doctor turnover is higher in larger practices than in single or two physician practices. Yet government Antitrust laws and regulations are driving these smaller practices out of business. But what is most disturbing is that doctors who took care of more patients on the government programs of Medicare and Medicaid were more likely to turnover.
It is time to reverse the government mandates and policies that are creating, burnout, retirement and turnover of our doctors. Instead we need to work for a healthcare system where healthcare dollars are spent paying doctors and other healthcare professionals, rather than bureaucrats, and allows them to do what they went to medical school for taking care of patients.