Most Texas Physicians Pessimistic About State of Medicine, Survey Finds
By David Doolittle


A majority of Texas physicians feel negatively about the current and future state of the medical profession, and many would not recommend medicine as a career to their children.

Those are among the findings of a recent survey of about 9,000 American physicians commissioned by the Physicians Foundation.

More than 800 Texas physicians participated in the survey, which sought input on such subjects as career satisfaction, hospital employment, value-based compensation, electronic health records (EHRs), and patient outcomes.

“Practicing physicians are the leaders of our health care system, yet their voices are often not heard,” said Tim Norbeck, CEO of the Physicians Foundation. “We hope policy makers, health care influencers, media, and other stakeholders will use the findings of our survey as a valuable resource to better understand the underlying challenges facing our health care system and, as a result, will formulate effective policies to advance the health and interests of patients.”

Almost 64 percent of Texas physicians felt “very negative” or “somewhat negative” about the current state of the medical profession, compared to just 57 percent of all U.S. physicians. And 71 percent of Texas physicians felt “very negative/pessimistic” or “somewhat negative/pessimistic” about the future of medicine. Only 55 percent of the full national sample felt that way.

Texas physicians also differed greatly from their nationwide colleagues on hospital employment.

According to the survey, 50.1 percent of Texas physicians strongly disagreed that hospital employment is a positive trend likely to enhance quality of care and decrease costs, compared with 27.9 percent of all physicians.

In other ways, however, Texas physicians’ answers mirrored their colleagues from around the country. For example, 64.1 percent of Texas physicians and 67.7 of all physicians said regulatory and paperwork burdens were the least satisfying aspects of medicine, and almost 66 percent of both Texas and national physicians said EHRs reduced and detracted from their interactions with patients.

The survey also revealed some of the positive aspects of medicine. For example, almost 78 percent of all physicians, including Texans, said patient relationships were the most satisfying aspect of practicing medicine.

Other key findings from the survey include: 

  • Almost 64 percent of Texas physicians see all Medicare patients, compared with 78 percent of national physicians;
  • More than 68 percent of Texas physicians prescribe fewer pain medications than before;
  • Only 14 percent of Texas physicians practice some form of telemedicine; and
  • 72 percent of Texas physicians “disagree” or “completely disagree” that maintenance of certification programs accurately assess their clinical abilities. 

Results of the full survey, administered by physician research and consulting firm Merritt Hawkins, can be found on the Physicians Foundation’s website.


Last Updated On

September 27, 2018

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David Doolittle


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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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