MDCH Releases 2007 Survey of Physicians

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 28, 2008

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) today released the 2007 Survey of Physicians, which provides comprehensive data on the physician workforce in Michigan. The physician workforce survey is available to physicians renewing their license. Nearly all of Michigan's 40,000 licensed physicians have had the opportunity to complete the optional survey.

The high response rate from physicians taking the survey has resulted in significant results revealing both important and alarming trends. Among the most alarming is the finding that 41 percent of active physicians indicate they only plan to practice medicine for one to 10 more years, compared with 38 percent in 2005. Sixty-one percent of physicians providing patient care in Michigan report that their practice is full or nearly full compared to 42 percent in 2005.

"These findings suggest we are going to have to step up efforts to meet the increasing demand for medical care in Michigan," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "Because these surveys and other studies have shown that a major factor influencing where a physician practices is where he or she completes the residency, we must be proactive in our efforts to keep our new physicians in Michigan."

MDCH collaborated with the Michigan Health Council, the Michigan State Medical Society, the Michigan Osteopathic Association and Public Sector Consultants, Inc to release the report. Other key findings from the 2007 survey include:

  • About 62 percent (25,907) of physicians licensed in Michigan are providing patient care services in the state. Another 3 percent are working as a physician in Michigan but spend no time in patient care. The remaining 36 percent work outside of Michigan or do not work as a physician.
  • About 36 percent of active physicians are primary care doctors who specialize in family practice, general medicine, internal medicine, or general pediatrics. The remaining are specialists in other areas.
  • About 73 percent of physicians were accepting new patients covered by Medicaid, but half of these physicians spend only 15 percent or less of their time with these patients.
  • Doctors who use computer technology for receiving and transmitting information, such as lab results, x-rays, or hospital records, and those who utilize electronic medical records, electronic prescriptions or communicate with patients by computer, have all expanded in the past three years and comprise a significant portion of Michigan physicians.
  • More than half of active physicians are involved in teaching and 21 percent are involved in research, which impacts the amount of time physicians can spend with their patients.

In order to address the impending health care shortage, the Michigan Healthcare Workforce Center has established four Web sites specializing in health care workforce issues (www.michigan.gov/mhwc), health care careers and training opportunities (www.michigan.gov/healthcareers), and professional practice issues impacting health care delivery and access to care (www.michigan.gov/painmanagement and www.michigan.gov/patientsafety).

For more information on collaborative efforts of the Michigan Healthcare Workforce Center, and to view all completed survey reports, visit www.michigan.gov/mhwc .