Physicians are Jaded, Burned Out and Worried, Yet Show Glimmers of Optimism around Pricing and Innovation, Says 2023 Apollo Intelligence Global Healthcare Report
With 49% of US doctors burned out, and 55% of Europeans doctors prioritizing answers to labor shortage, Apollo’s 8th annual predictions report charts physicians’ hopes, realities, and concern about impact to society
WATERTOWN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After three years of rising burnout and staffing shortages driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians around the world are downtrodden and concerned about the future of public health. Nearly half (49%) of US physicians report burnout in 2023, up slightly from 2022 (45%). Seventy percent have concerns about staffing challenges in 2023, and more than 60% believe that many more qualified healthcare professionals (HCPs) will leave their professions in 2023. European physicians rank the need for an answer to HCP burnout (43%) among their top priorities, second only to addressing the healthcare labor shortage (55%). Doctors worldwide remain largely resigned to a status quo that will deliver more of the same.
Yet while respondents are frustrated and overworked, there are signs of optimism around pricing—a rare occurrence in the annual tracked study—and greater access to care for more of their patients.
Data are from the 2023 Apollo Global Healthcare Predictions Report from Apollo Intelligence (Apollo), a leading provider of real-time global data and insights to the healthcare and life science industries and parent to the InCrowd and Survey Healthcare Global (SHG) brands. The report shares insights from physicians in six Western nations, the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, sourced between January 3-4, 2023.
“Physicians remain frustrated, burned out, and concerned about their patients and their profession. Yet there is a greater belief that they’ll see improvements that they’ve wanted for years around pricing, patient access, and innovation,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of Apollo. “Apollo’s report shares the voice of the clinician in the hopes that their insights will help industry leaders to address long-standing healthcare challenges that have a profound impact on society.”
Labor Shortage Concerns, Especially in Europe
One in five European physicians (22%) in Apollo’s report predict there will be more physician burnout and staffing issues ahead. In Europe, following a year of HCP strikes, physicians especially attribute their low optimism on the state of public health to labor shortages (87%) and burnout (78%). One in three (33%) US physicians have considered leaving the profession, a figure that has stabilized since 2022, yet remains sizable. Physicians in all nations express frustration over their lack of compensation, the way they are treated, and their place in the decision-making process.
“Haven’t seen an increase in pay for the work I do in years. Any increase in salary has been due to seeing more patients at the expense of a work life balance; burn out…” —PCP, US
“The main change I would like to see in the healthcare industry is more hiring of healthcare staff. The current system is overloaded, and if more staff were hired, office visits and operating theaters could be made available…” —Specialist, Spain
In their hopes for 2023, respondents have shared their suggestions for improvements that might mitigate burnout. By prioritizing increases in pay for HCPs, improvements to medical education, training, and staffing, and advanced tech and medicine, physicians in both regions have provided recommendations to addressing stress on HCPs.
Hopes vs. Reality, and Hints of Optimism
Many US (28%) and European (27%) physicians believe that, realistically, no changes will occur in the healthcare industry during 2023. For the past 8 years, US physicians have held the same belief about the pharmaceutical industry, that nothing will change — at 32% in 2023, a figure consistent in 2022 and 2021 during the pandemic, but materially down from its highs of over two-thirds believing that nothing would change prior to 2021.
Nearly 20% of US doctors in 2023’s report believe that drug prices will rise in the next year, while 13% predict costs will get lower, rising from just 7% in 2022—a small yet potentially meaningful data point.
Advancements in technology and medicine top the wish list, with more optimism in Europe, at 34%, levels more than twice that of their American peers (16%). Regulatory change leads the European physicians’ wish list at 20%, yet only 13% believe it will happen. In the US hopes and expectations were more aligned, with 11% of US respondents hoping for regulatory change and nearly the same number (10%) realistically thinking it will occur.
Doctors are not hopeful about improved pay for HCPs, a sought-after item in both the US (20%) and Europe (11%). But few see this becoming a reality with just 6% in the US thinking it will happen and 4% in Europe.
Patient Impact, Including FDA’s Slowdown in Drug Approvals
The long-term impact from COVID-19 and recent upheavals in the healthcare delivery universe weigh heavily on physicians in Apollo’s report. Three quarters of US physicians believe it’s likely that we will continue to see negative economic impact from the infectious environment with more and more people ill and unable to work. Additionally, the year will see more patient resistance to vaccines and viral treatments as forms of misinformation escalate, although a large cohort nearly 50% believe there will be more patient awareness to misinformation as well. Over 40% have strong concerns about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on patients.
“I believe we are going to see a huge number of people suffering from long-term effects of COVID infection. These will be very difficult to treat and include neuropsychological issues as well as chronic pulmonary disease.” —Neurologist, US
In the US, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)’s slowdown in drug approvals has nearly half (45%) of physicians reporting barriers to treating patients as a result. Eighteen percent report resorting to using older, less effective treatments for some patients.
For a copy of the 2023 Apollo Global Healthcare Predictions report click here.
The 2023 Apollo Global Healthcare Predictions Report includes data from n=434 US and European physicians (among them PCPs, oncologists, rheumatologists, neurologists, and cardiologists), fielded on January 3 - 4, 2023. Respondents included n=200 US physicians, and n=234 European doctors sourced across the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France. All respondents answered a 9-minute survey. The US cohort closed within a 13-hour timeframe, and the European cohort closed in under 32 hours.
About Apollo Intelligence, LLC
Apollo’s mission is to accelerate health innovation to improve life. In 2019, Apollo launched with the acquisition of InCrowd, a pioneer of real-time, automated insights for the life science industry. To complement InCrowd and strengthen its global reach, in 2020, Apollo acquired Survey Healthcare Global, a global market leader of first-party healthcare data collection and custom survey solutions. Apollo provides access to 2 million healthcare stakeholders worldwide—including physicians, patients, caregivers, and allied healthcare professionals. Apollo’s 250+ employees support top global pharmaceutical brands, market research agencies, and consultancies across 13 different countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Apollo is a portfolio company of Frazier Healthcare Partners. For more information about Apollo, please visit our website at www.apollointelligence.net.
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