Harvard Medical School and RAND Researchers Conduct Largest National Poll of U.S. Doctors’ Views on COVID-19 Pandemic

Study Finds that half of U.S. physicians polled say they have treated a patient with COVID-19 symptoms and were not able to easily test; significant safety and medical supply challenges persist

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 2, 2020 -- Doximity announced today that it has teamed with researchers from two of the country’s leading academic medical and healthcare research organizations, to publish the first and largest, wide-scale national study of physician views on the global coronavirus pandemic. Conducted last week between March 21-24, 2020, a total of 10,750 American physicians on the Doximity network clicked on the survey link and more than 2,600 responses were received, representing all major-medical specialties. Doximity is the largest online professional network, with over 70% of U.S. physicians as registered members.

The study found that most U.S. physicians (73%) reported not being able to test patients quickly and easily for Coronavirus, despite 50% reporting that they had treated at least one patient with possible COVID-19 symptoms. Nearly 50% also reported concerns about patients likely avoiding testing or treatment due to financial barriers.

Key Findings Include:

  • Doctors Say Medical Supplies and COVID-19 Testing Are Inadequate: 77% did not believe that their hospital or clinic had adequate medical supplies or equipment to manage the crisis. Overall, 73% reported not being able to test patients quickly and easily.
  • There Are Not Enough Precautions in Place: Nearly 60% did not think there were enough coronavirus precautions in their clinical setting.
  • Government Agencies Not Doing Enough: The majority of physicians (70%) did not think that government had taken appropriate measures to support the medical supply chain or had adequately responded to the pandemic.
  • Finances May Impact Patients Getting Treatment: 48% of doctors reported concern that patients are avoiding testing or treatment due to financial barriers.
  • Social Distancing is potentially an Under-Reaction: While social distancing is inconvenient and has large economic impacts, most – but not all – physicians agree that it is absolutely necessary to successfully fight this pandemic. 59% reported that current social distancing measures are appropriate, while 28% reported current measures are likely an under-reaction.
  • Many Doctors Are Turning to Telemedicine: Over 80% of physicians have moved to, or are planning to adopt, telemedicine virtual visits with patients. Telemedicine can be beneficial in treating patients remotely, saving in-person visits for high-priority coronavirus patients.

"Our thanks go out to the physicians who participated in our study last week. For the first time, we have aggregated opinion data that reflects what they are experiencing on the front lines of this pandemic. These voices are highlighting clinical, medical safety and supply issues that must be addressed quickly," said Dr. Anupam Bapu Jena, an associate professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“The findings highlight the difficult road ahead for healthcare providers confronting the coronavirus pandemic,” said Chris Whaley, Ph.D., lead author and Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. “We hope this insight on physician experiences and concerns surrounding the pandemic will help design appropriate and immediate policy response.”

"As an emergency medicine physician, I see first-hand how these challenges are impacting day-to-day operations in the ER. I practice in Chicago, and we’ve already begun to see patients in severe distress due to this pandemic. The bottom line is that the issues flagged in this study, both at the clinical and system level, need to be addressed quickly for us to get and stay ahead of this," explained Amit Phull, MD, board-certified emergency medicine physician and vice president of strategy and insights at Doximity.

Read the full Physician views on the coronavirus pandemic response study.

About Doximity

Founded in 2010, Doximity is the leading digital platform for medical professionals. The company’s network members include over 80% of U.S. physicians across all specialties and practice areas. Doximity provides its verified clinical membership with digital tools built for medicine, enabling them to collaborate with colleagues, stay up to date with the latest medical news and research, manage their careers and conduct virtual patient visits. Doximity’s mission is to help doctors be more productive so they can provide better healthcare for their patients. For more information, please visit www.doximity.com.

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