How have physician work hours, including total work hours contributed by the physician workforce, changed since 2001?
Findings In this cross-sectional study of 87 297 monthly surveys of physicians from 17 599 unique households, average weekly hours worked by individual physicians declined by 7.6% from 2001 to 2021, driven by a decrease among men, particularly fathers, while mothers’ hours increased. Total weekly hours contributed by the physician workforce per capita grew at less than half the rate of US population growth, while advanced practice professional workforce hours rose considerably over the same period.
Meaning Over 2 decades, physicians’ average weekly work hours consistently declined, more among men than women, with both positive and negative implications for gender equity; lagging growth in hours contributed by the physician workforce per capita was offset by a growing advanced practice professional workforce.
Importance Physician work hours are an underexplored facet of the physician workforce that can inform policy for the rapidly changing health care labor market.
Objective To examine trends in individual physician work hours and their contribution to clinical workforce changes over a 20-year period.
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