Friday, May 23, 2014

Your Doctor Sees About 19 Patients Per Day and He is Ready to Cut That Back with ObamaCare Coming

  • 2012 article in the Annals of Family Medicine noted that the average primary-care physician has about 2,300 patients on his “panel”— that is, the total under his or her care. Worse, it said that each physician would have to “spend 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended acute, chronic and preventive care for a panel of 2,500 patients.”
  • According to a 2013 survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the average member of that group has 93.2 “patient encounters” each week — in an office, hospital or nursing home, on a house call or via an e-visit. That’s about 19 patients per day. 
  • So what is a good size for a family practice, one that keeps the patients happy and the doctor from keeling over from exhaustion? A 2007 article in “Family Practice Management” took a stab at this one and suggested that at 3.1 visits per year, a doctor who sees 20 patients a day could have about 1,400 people under his care. 
  • Physicians are working fewer hours, seeing fewer patients and limiting access to their practices in light of the significant changes to the medical practice environment.  The research estimates that if these patterns continue, 44,250 full-time-equivalent physicians will be lost from the work force in the next four years.
Source: Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post, "How Many Patients Should Your Doctor See Each Day?"