Doctors ask presidential candidates top healthcare questions

Malpractice reform and physician retention take center stage as physicians weigh-in on debate

Sermo, the largest online community exclusive to physicians owned and operated by WorldOne, the global leader in healthcare insights and intelligence, today released the results of its latest poll, collecting physicians’ top questions for the presidential candidates. The purpose of the poll was to better understand what the nation’s leading practitioners believe are the issues and challenges Congress must solve in order to have effective healthcare reform.

Sermo asked its members to pose a healthcare question they believe candidates must answer before they go to the polls on November 6th. Based on over 150 submissions and 440 votes from the community, the following two questions accounted for almost 50 percent of physicians.

  1. When and how will you address tort reform? (26% of respondents)
  2. How will you encourage and retain physicians (especially those in primary care and treating Medicare/Medicaid patients) to continue practicing in 2013 and beyond? (20% of respondents)

Overall the results show physicians believe major healthcare changes are needed. The first question on tort reform refers to how pressures imposed by the U.S. legal system have changed the way doctors practice medicine towards a defensive rather than an evidence-based approach. The second question affirms the widely publicized fear of a near-term shortage of physicians, perhaps because students will be discouraged to attend medical school, but also because today’s doctors feel they need additional incentives to stay in practice.

These findings are further supported by additional Sermo research over recent months. In July, 65 percent of 1,233 Sermo physicians indicated they would order fewer tests in their everyday practice “if tort reform efforts resulted in a mandatory $100,000 cap on all malpractice awards, regardless of case and location.” Also in July, 20 percent of 822 Sermo physicians said they believe they will leave the medical profession within five years, with another 28 percent indicating they plan to retire.

Other commonly submitted questions ranged from requests for proposals in order to cut costs and promote healthier lifestyles to various politically charged topics.

“Physicians that were once autonomous are now questioning their choice of profession. If key structural changes are not made, we are at serious risk of losing and reducing the number of new skilled practitioners in this country, further compromising quality of care for future generations,” said Jon Michaeli, SVP Global Community and Marketing at WorldOne. “Aside from its clinical value at the point of care, Sermo has always been a valuable platform to crowdsource and amplify physician opinion. The situation is dire, and Congress can no longer afford to lend a deaf ear to the experts on the front lines treating patients each and every day.”

In July of this year, Sermo was acquired by WorldOne and is now part of WorldOne Interactive, the company’s digital engagement arm. The combined company has access to 385,000 verified physicians in the U.S. and a total of one million physicians globally.

About WorldOne

WorldOne is the largest healthcare data collection company in the world serving the market research industry for over a decade. Headquartered in New York with 18 regional offices across North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, WorldOne offers clients online and offline access to medical professionals in over 80 countries through a range of differentiated products and services. WorldOne’s global network includes over 1.8 million fully verified healthcare professionals, who in 2011 completed nearly half a million online surveys, answering over 20 million questions. For more information, please visit:

Contact for WorldOne Interactive:

Kristi Eells
SHIFT Communications
P: 617.779.1828