In the era of health care reform where sweeping changes in the structure, administration, and delivery of patient health care services is abound, it is more important than ever to find out from those practicing in the industry how its working in their own practice. In fact, in a 2009 address to the American Medical Association, President Barack Obama admitted that physicians' support was needed to achieve the success of health care reform. The question is whether physicians see active participation in health care reform as a necessary part of their professional duty or do they simply accept the realities of the Affordable Care Act.
But whether it is climate change from global warming or the lifting of lifetime maximum insurance coverage of health care reform, change -- regardless of its origin -- requires adaptation. For this reason, physician surveys are an important survey tool in health policy research and health services care in adapting to these changes.
A primary goal of physician surveys is to provide an evaluation of physician opinions regarding the work they perform, whether it is in their own practice or within a specialty department of a larger organization or hospital. Feedback received can be analyzed and utilized to improve medical facility procedures, programs, physician satisfaction levels, and patient care amidst abiding to new health care legislation.
Besides the impact of health care reform, other areas can be explored in physician surveys. These include sources of practice revenue, career satisfaction, satisfaction with health insurance billing, resource availability, use of physician and nursing assistants, charity care involvement, technology adaptation, use of electronic medical records, Medicare and Medicaid policy, and physician's time allocation.
That said, physician surveys have notoriously been characterized by low response rates, which can impact the potential for bias and skewed results. Some studies indicate that physician response rates range in the 40 percent to 60 percent range. One of the most common reasons for low response rates is no surprise: the physicians' lack of time.
Most physicians will admit they understand the importance of completing physician surveys, but in the scheme of their day, these requests for their assessment and opinion can fall lower on their priority list. Many doctors today are pressed for time, having more patients than they should fit in their day. As a result, patients are given just minutes of a physician's time, leaving the patient frustrated and unsatisfied. On the one hand, it's refreshing that physicians are focused on patient care, but comes at a cost of reduced feedback on health care policy, disease and treatment research, and improvements in patient care.
On the bright side, technology stands to improve low physician survey response rates. Through the use of online survey software, physican surveys can be designed in an efficient, streamlined fashion that makes it easier for a physician to provide their input. What's more, an increasing number of physicians are getting connected and using technology in their practice. Through a web-based physician survey approach, doctors have the convenience and flexibility to fit their participation in a survey tool into their busy daily schedule.