Trends for primary care physicians

Jan. 2, 2012

In an effort to uncover the biggest trends and challenges facing primary care physicians (PCPs) today, Epocrates Market Research recently conducted its annual survey of PCPs to uncover their perspectives on a range of issues related to practicing medicine, healthcare technology usage/adoption and more. The study included 632 PCPs who use Epocrates software. More than 1.4 million healthcare professionals, including 50 percent of U.S. physicians, use Epocrates drug reference, educational and clinical apps. Highlights from the survey findings include:

Tablet adoption is on the rise. Twenty percent of primary care physicians surveyed currently use a tablet, with nearly 45 percent planning to purchase a tablet within the next year.

New forms of physician/patient interaction are emerging. Almost 54 percent of PCPs currently use or plan to implement e-mail within the next year as a form of communication with patients, while nearly 48 percent currently use or plan to implement a patient portal, 21 percent currently use or plan to implement text messaging and 10 percent currently use or plan to implement video chat.

Meaningful use becomes an important initiative for physicians. More than half of PCPs feel confident that they will meet meaningful-use requirements by the deadline. Sixty-five percent already have an EHR system that will allow them to meet meaningful-use standards, indicating a 10 percent increase from 2010. Among those who do not currently have an EHR system, nearly 36 percent plan to implement one this year.

Reimbursements, work/life balance and patient time are biggest challenges. When asked about the greatest challenges in their practices, almost 57 percent of PCPs reported that lower reimbursements are their biggest challenge, followed closely by the lack of work/life balance (52 percent) and the lack of adequate time with patients (52 percent).

Medicaid expansion is a hurdle for docs. Almost 70 percent of PCPs do not feel prepared, or are unsure whether they are prepared, to handle the influx of insured patients from the expansion of Medicaid.

Sanjay Gupta is the most credible TV doc. When asked which physician news correspondents on national TV are most credible, Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN ranked at the top, followed in order by Dr. Nancy Snyderman (NBC), Dr. Richard Besser (ABC), Dr. Jennifer Ashton (CBS) and Dr. Manny Alvarez (FOX).

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