A recent survey from the Physician’s Foundation revealed a snapshot of what physicians are thinking in 2012 about the practice of medicine, their career plans, and the current state of the healthcare system. Gathering response from 13,575 physicians, the survey asked questions directly impacting quality and access to patient care in the United States, such as salary, hours worked, and number of patients being seen.

According to the survey, over 86% of the physicians surveyed described their income as “flat or declining” over the last 3 years. The breakdown was as follows:





On average physicians worked about 53 hours per week in 2012, down from 57 hours in 2008 (a 5% decline in hours worked per week). Practice patterns and metrics of hours worked revealed the following:

79.3% of physicians work full-time schedules of 41 hours a week or more
Male physicians work 6% more hours than female physicians
Specialists work 5% more hours than PCPs
Young doctors work 8% more hours than older physicians
About 12.01 hours a week were spent on non-clinical duties
Physicians spend over 22% of their time on non-clinical paperwork

The average number of patients seen per day by physicians in 2012 declined 16.6% ( to 20.1 patients) compared to 2008. The report breakdown found:

Employed physicians see 17.35% fewer patients per day than do practice owners
Female physicians see 13.7% fewer patients than do male physicians
Primary care physicians see 3% fewer patients than do specialists
Physicians 40 or younger see 4.04% fewer patients per day than do patients 41 or older

According to the report, the declining average number of hours physicians are working, combined with an increase in physician transition from practice owner to employed status, could have detrimental effects on the number of patients seen per year. And this will occur at a time when “the population is both growing and aging, and when access to healthcare insurance is likely to be expanded, further fueling demand for physician services.”

Click here to read the Physicians Foundation “A Survey of America’s Physicians.”