Navigation Links
Doctors Working Less, Earning Less
Date:2/23/2010

Seven percent drop in hours may lead to physician shortages, researchers say,,,,

TUESDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Although physicians still work long hours, the past decade has seen a sharp decline in the average number of hours they work each week, a new study finds.

From 1976 through 1996, the average work week of doctors remained steady, but between 1996 and 2008, the average number of hours physicians spent at work dropped nearly four hours a week -- from 54.9 to 51 hours a week.

"After being stable at around 55 hours for decades, physicians' hours have declined 7 percent in the past decade to around 51 hours a week," said the study's lead author, Douglas Staiger, professor of economics at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. "This is an unprecedented decline that we haven't seen before in physicians, and you don't see it for other professions, like lawyers."

Results of the study are published in the Feb. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, Staiger and his colleagues reviewed data on trends in physicians' work hours from the U.S. Census Bureau from 1976 through 2008. The survey included 116,733 doctors from across the country.

Initially, the researchers suspected that rules instituted in 2003 limiting the amount of time that physician residents can work in hospitals might have been behind the drop in physician hours. Although residents did have a larger decline in hours -- 9.8 percent on average -- the drop in hours worked affected all physicians, with non-resident physicians experiencing a 5.7 percent reduction in their work week.

"The decline in hours was very broad-based. It's happening among all types of physicians -- young and old, working at a hospital or not," said Staiger.

The biggest drops in hours worked were for non-resident physicians under 45 years old and those working outside of a hospital.

The study also found that the average physician's fees dropped by 25 percent between 1995 and 2006. In areas with the lowest physician fees, the average number of hours worked was just 49 per week in 2001, according to the study.

"If you get paid less, you have less incentive to work harder," said Dr. Michael Reis, the interim chairman of the Family Medicine Department at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas. "One of the problems is that physicians put off years of earning through college, medical school and residency, and are often way behind the eight ball when they're done training. That may drive some to pick specialties that pay more for fewer hours."

Staiger said that the data wasn't broken down by specialty, so the researchers weren't able to discern if more people were entering specialties that require fewer work hours.

But, he said, the researchers do believe that financial pressures probably have something to do with the decline in work hours.

"As fees have come down, for physicians to make the same money, they have to see more patients, and that makes it less satisfying for everybody. Patients feel rushed and physicians can't spend the time they want to with patients," said Reis.

Staiger agreed that doctors probably have to spend less time with each patient. "Physicians may be fitting more into a shorter period of time," he said.

And, with an aging population that's growing, physicians may be forced to do more in less time. Although the United States has more doctors now than ever before, the reduction in work hours is equivalent to losing about 35,000 full-time doctors, according to Staiger.

"We already know there's going to be a shortage of physicians in the future, especially primary care doctors, and this is only going to multiply the problem," said Reis.

More information

For advice on choosing your doctor, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.



SOURCES: Douglas Staiger, Ph.D., John French professor of economics, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.; Michael Reis, M.D., associate regional chief medical officer, Northern Regional Clinics, and interim chairman, Family Medicine Department, Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, Texas; Feb. 24, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. UK junior doctors gaining less experience of common procedures
2. Doctors Often Miss High Blood Pressure in Kids
3. One-fourth of HIV patients believe their doctors stigmatize them
4. Annual flu shot cuts need for doctors visits, hospitalization among children
5. Teens need to see their doctors more often
6. Doctors and medical ethicist discuss whether doctors should participate in capital punishment
7. Doctors and Medical Ethicist Discuss Whether Doctors Should Participate in Capital Punishment
8. South Texas Doctors Report More Severe Cases of Community Staph Super Bug Hospitalizing Children
9. Maimonides Expands Circulation of Physicians Practice Journal to Staten Island Doctors
10. Doctors Debate Drugs vs. Surgery for Angina
11. UCI Medical Affiliates Inc. Opens a New Doctors Care Center in Anderson
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... Datos Health , developer of a pioneering ... , the largest Electronic Medical Records (EMR) provider in South Africa. By using ... a patient’s remote health progress, empowering the patient to take direct responsibility for their ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... Miami ... anniversary as a dentist. , “I could have never imagined back in 1991 that ... personally,” said Dr. Gallardo. , Over the last 25 years, Dr. Gallardo has pioneered ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... for sponsors and CROs to speed clinical development, has released the industry’s ... Bioclinica AGILE RTSM provides seamless clinical supply forecasting and management ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... agreement to be the preferred physical therapy provider for Derby City CrossFit, effective ... Derby City CrossFit as quickly and effectively as possible, ProRehab’s sports physical therapists ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... compare student test score performance for the 2015-16 school year across Wisconsin’s public ... programs. Though it highlights important patterns in student test score performance, the report’s ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017 Research and ... Market Size, Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, ... report to their offering. ... The global pharmacogenomics market was valued at US$ 7,167.6 Mn ... by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2016 ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - CRH Medical Corporation (TSX: CRH) (NYSE MKT: CRHM) (the ... Co. Healthcare Investor Conference 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel in ... Chief Executive Officer of the Company is scheduled to present on ... Bear and the Chairman of the Board, Tony Holler ... ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... -- Global Surgical Drainage Device Market: Overview ... excess liquid and air. The fluid to be drained ... Surgical drains are used in a wide variety of ... surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery etc. Common use of surgical ... fluid e.g. blood or pus. Surgical drains are available ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: