62% in US believe more qualified healthcare professionals will leave their roles in 2022;
73% of doctors worldwide expect accelerated drug delivery in 2022 via COVID’s positive impact
WATERTOWN MA March 28, 2022—As the COVID-19 pandemic transitions to endemic, a seventh annual in-depth report on physician sentiments shows that physician burnout and high levels of concerns about staffing shortages are a worldwide issue, with some at nearly double their 2021 levels. Nearly twice as many US physicians (45%) say they personally have experienced burnout in the past two years, compared to their European counterparts (25%). Sixty-two percent of American doctors, and 49% in Europe, are concerned about staffing shortages in their hospitals or clinics—while one in three US doctors, and one in four in Europe, have considered leaving the medical profession during the past year. For US physicians, in 2022 this number (34%) is nearly double what it was in 2021 (18%).
At the same time, 73% of doctors expect accelerated drug delivery moving forward due to the success of the expedited development of the COVID-19 vaccines, while one in five predict more innovation in telemedicine.
Data are from the 2022 Apollo Healthcare Predictions Report, the seventh annual barometer of global physician sentiments from Apollo Intelligence, whose market research brands create the data and insights that drive tomorrow’s healthcare forward.
“2022 finds physicians deflated from the prolonged pandemic and frustrated by their waning influence in public health,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of Apollo. “Burnout levels and staffing concerns overshadow other, more optimistic findings this year. Our annual report provides a window into physicians’ sentiments and views on the year ahead, and this year’s report highlights the strain the pandemic is continuing to put on them.”
Endemic, Yes: Impact Receding, No
COVID is no longer a pandemic but instead is endemic to communities worldwide, according to 76% of all physicians surveyed. Yet the disease continues to pose strong consequences. More than half of US respondents, and a third in Europe, have concerns over the long-term impact of COVID on patients. Over a quarter worldwide feel the pandemic has slowed progress for new therapies in their area of specialty. More than three quarters of doctors worldwide (82% in US, 79% in Europe) predict negative economic impact from COVID-19 in 2022, with more people becoming ill from the more contagious variants, and more unable to work.
Significantly more US physicians believe that the year will see more patient resistance to vaccines and COVID-related treatments as misinformation escalates. The most optimistic nations were France and Spain, with 33% and 31% respectively believing we would get back to a pre-pandemic world.
US Leads in Burnout
The personal impact on physicians via burnout, thoughts of leaving medicine, and a sense of pervasive grief were significantly higher in the US than in Europe. Verbatim remarks echo the frustration among clinicians and its long-term impact on society.
“Nothing will devastate a community faster [than] when there’s no doctor available for them when they are sick.” –Rheumatologist, US
“The last two years has taken its toll on staff in healthcare and a silent epidemic could be about to happen. PTSD in key workers who will be unable to sustain working under such pressures.” –General Practitioner, UK
“More important than the doctors are still the nursing staff.” –Neurologist, Germany
Wishes and Predictions: Lower Prices, Telemedicine
Every year since the Predictions Report’s inception, the perennial change that US physicians would most like to see in the pharmaceutical industry is lower prices for patients. Though still the top aspiration, at 60%, the level was down from 67% in 2021, and from 86% in 2020, as US doctors in 2022 wished for a variety of other items including generics (10%), improved access to programs and less bureaucracy and government regulation (both at 8%).
Affordability dominated doctors’ priorities for changes from the pharmaceutical industry with 45% of respondents ranking it at the top in 2022. However, affordability was significantly down as a priority from 2021 (55%). Addressing burnout for healthcare professionals was a top priority for 36% of respondents this year, up from 29% in 2021.
Interestingly—for all respondents—telemedicine was both doctors’ most wished-for change, and their prediction of what realistically would happen in 2022 in the healthcare industry. Among priorities, US and European doctors ranked telemedicine their highest priority, at 22% and 23% respectively. For what respondents thought would happen in 2022, 19% of US and 25% of Europeans physicians believed telemedicine would advance in the next year.
Uncertainty and Hope Remain
Though nearly one in five physicians worldwide expressed concerns about the long-term impact of COVID-19 vaccines on the public, nearly the same number believe we will see the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022.
The 2022 Apollo Healthcare Predictions Report includes data from n=442 US and European physicians (among them PCPs, oncologists, rheumatologists, neurologists, and cardiologists), fielded on January 1-2, 2022. Respondents included n=207 US physicians, and n=235 doctors across the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France. All respondents answered a 7-minute survey, and the US cohort closed within a 10-hour timeframe.
About Apollo Intelligence, LLC
Apollo Intelligence’s mission is to accelerate health innovation to improve life. In 2019, Apollo launched with the acquisition of InCrowd, the pioneer of real-time automated insights for the life sciences industry. To complement InCrowd and strengthen its global reach, in 2020 Apollo acquired Survey Healthcare Global, the global market leader of first-party healthcare data collection and custom survey solutions. Apollo provides access to 2M healthcare stakeholders worldwide—including physicians, patients, caregivers, and allied healthcare professionals. Apollo’s 200+ employees support top global pharmaceutical brands, market research agencies, and consultancies across 14 different countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information about Apollo, please visit our website https://apollointelligence.net.