Too many administrative burdens, government interventions and frustrations with electronic health records systems are lowering physicians’ optimism about their ability to deliver quality care and remain profitable, according to a new survey.

The third annual Physician Sentiment Index, from online physician community vendor Sermo and physician software and billing firm athenahealth, is based on a survey of 500 physicians across a range of practice sizes and specialties. Some of the results include:

* Eighty-one percent of respondents do not see independent practices as viable in the future;

* Fifty-three percent believe the Affordable Care Act will have a detrimental effect on their ability to provide quality care, up three points from 2011;

* Twenty-nine percent still don’t understand the reform law’s details and implications;

* Sixteen percent would like to see the law remain as is (11 percent last year) and 29 percent want a full repeal (21% in 2011);

* Thirty-six percent say EHRs worsen patient care, 44 percent contend the software is not designed with physicians in mind and 72 percent report EHRs are a distraction from face-to-face patient interaction;

* Forty-two percent are somewhat or very confident of a smooth transition to ICD-10; and

* Surveyed physicians, by large margins, see payers as increasingly intrusive on the patient-physician relationship, believe payers inhibit care they’d like to provide to patients, and view pay-for-performance as negatively impacting care quality.

Full survey results are available here.

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