Healthcare News & Insights

The real reason mid-career primary care docs are quitting

New research shows that retention of mid-career primary care physicians is up against many more hurdles than just improving their financial prospects.

It’s no secret that recruiting new primary care doctors is difficult. But experienced, not-yet-ready-to-retire doctors are leaving the field in droves — for a variety of reasons.

That’s the takeaway from a new survey by the American College of Physicians and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

According to the survey, 9% of all internists who were originally certified between 1990-1995 are no longer in the field. Of that group, general internists were much more likely to have left than internal medicine docs.

While the relatively poor financial prospects for primary care doctors is a large part of the problem, the study’s authors suggest that several other factors, such as increased work demands, are at play.

The researchers also said that the “generalized” type of work performed by primary care doctors is more likely to put in them in a position to take advantage of opportunities in other areas of medicine — or in another field altogether.

The study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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