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Changes in Physician Work Hours and Patterns During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with loss of revenue, reduced work hours, and reduced earnings for physicians in the United States.13 Furthermore, pandemic restrictions and related regulatory changes allowing physicians greater flexibilities potentially altered physicians’ work activities and environments.4,5 We analyzed a longitudinal data set to examine changes in US physician work hours and activities before and after the COVID-19 pandemic emerged.

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Article Information

Accepted for Publication: April 19, 2021.

Published: June 23, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.14386

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2021 Hu X et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Xiaochu Hu, PhD, Association of American Medical Colleges, 655 K St, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (xhu@aamc.org).

Author Contributions: Dr Hu and Mr Dill had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Hu.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: All authors.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Hu.

Administrative, technical, or material support: All authors.

Supervision: All authors.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Additional Contributions: The authors would like to express our appreciation to numerous colleagues at the Association of American Medical Colleges: Sarah Conrad, MS, for her excellent support in editing; and Merle Haberman, MHA, and Janis M. Orlowski, MD, MACP, for their insightful input in reviewing the drafts. The authors would also like to acknowledge Douglas O. Staiger, PhD, Dartmouth College, for his valuable suggestions on methods and data. They received no compensation for their roles in this study.

Additional Information: Data used in this study are free of charge.

References
1.
Rubin  R .  COVID-19's crushing effects on medical practices, some of which might not survive.   JAMA. 2020;324(4):321-323. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11254PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
American Academy of Family Physicians. AAFP NRN/Graham Center surveys track COVID-19’s effects. Accessed October 22, 2020. https://www.aafp.org/news/practice-professional-issues/20200529covidsurveys.html
3.
Brubaker  L .  Women physicians and the COVID-19 pandemic.   JAMA. 2020;324(9):835-836. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.14797PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 2021. Physicians and other clinicians: CMS flexibilities to fight COVID-19. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.endocrine.org/-/media/endocrine/files/membership/cms--covid-phys-fact-sheet.pdf
5.
Hu  X , Dill  JM , Haberman  M ,  et al Impact of COVID-19 on physician workforce: an examination of the staffing strategies and concerns of faculty practice plans. Association of American Medical Colleges. Published 2020. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.aamc.org/media/49001/download
6.
Staiger  DO , Auerbach  DI , Buerhaus  PI .  Trends in the work hours of physicians in the United States.   JAMA. 2010;303(8):747-753. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.168PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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