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Why Doctors Are Quitting & Pursuing Other Careers

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Oct 22, 2018

According to a recent report from NBC News, many doctors are making the decision to quit their jobs—some after decades of employment as healthcare providers. While physicians have different motivations for leaving the medical profession, their decisions to quit and pursue other careers is leaving the healthcare field with an estimated shortage of doctors in the future.

Is there really going to be a shortage of doctors in the U.S. in the not-too-distant future, and could it lead to more medical errors? Why are doctors quitting their jobs? And what are some of the harms of the current healthcare system in the U.S. that are contributing to physicians’ decisions to leave their practices?

Causes of the Shortage: Fewer Medical Students And More Doctors Leaving The Profession

The Association of American Medical Colleges recently reported that, by the year 2030, we are looking at a shortage of anywhere from 42,600 to more than 121,000 physicians in the U.S. That number represents a significant increase from a previous prediction made just last year, when the Association of American Medical Colleges estimated that the physician shortage would range from anywhere between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors by 2030. The potential shortage of American doctors has two primary driving factors, according to the article: younger people who may have considered medical school are no longer doing so, and more seasoned physicians are deciding “to eschew medical degrees” and move into other professions.

Why are fewer people entering into the medical profession? When it comes to potential students, there are likely a number of different factors. First, medical school is extremely expensive. To combat concerns about financing a medical school education, places like New York University have offered free tuition. In addition, residencies typically require living in less-than-ideal locations, leading some would-be medical school students to choose other STEM careers in order to remain in urban areas.

But why are doctors quitting after spending dozens of years providing healthcare services and taking on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to finance their medical school educations? For many doctors who decide to quit and pursue other careers, “the cons of the job started to far outweigh the pros.”

Limitations of Current Medical Practice

What are the cons that are leading so many doctors to leave the profession? One of the major issues for older physicians includes electronic health records (EHRs). The systems can be difficult to use for doctors who do not want to rely on computers. A study from Stanford Medicine reported that 59 percent of doctors believe EHRs “need a complete overhaul,” and 40 percent believe there are “more challenges with EHRs than benefits.” In short, EHRs can result in a lesser quality of care even though they are largely designed to do the opposite.

Moreover, physicians have more difficulty obtaining the medications they need to treat ailing and sometimes dying patients, including children, due to the complications and bureaucracy of the business side of medicine. Doctors also feel frustrated over insurance issues and other matters that do not pertain to medical tasks. Many physicians also find that they simply do not have a work-life balance and want to spend time outside of their jobs.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

With a doctor shortage, many patients will not be able to receive the quality of care they need and deserve. If you or someone you love suffered an injury as a result of a medical error, you can consult with a medical malpractice lawyer about your case. Contact Cohen, Placitella & Roth to learn more about the services we provide to plaintiffs.

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