A new survey of United States physicians shows that they are not optimistic about the future of medicine, particularly when it comes to independent practice. According to the 2013 Physician Sentiment Index, 78% of all physicians surveyed said they are not optimistic that independent groups will survive the years ahead. They have good reason to feel that way. Each year, more and more physicians are leaving private practice for hospital employment. So much so that in 2011 Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, estimated that in 2013, less than one-third of physicians will be independently employed. Overall, the survey paints a negative outlook for the future of medicine. Nearly half (41%) of doctors feel their financial situation will be worse next year. Only 17% indicated they feel their financial situation will improve, while 42% expect it to stay the same. However, independent physicians are even more pessimistic than their employed counterparts. For example, 54% of independent physicians feel the shift to a pay for performance system will negatively affect their profitability, while 33% of employed physicians feel the same way. The trend continued for questions about the cost benefits of electronic medical records. Only 45% of independent physicians felt the patient care benefits outweigh the costs of EMRs, compared to 62% of employed physicians. One of the more positive notes was in regards to the quality of medicine that will be delivered in five years. Respondents were actually more optimistic than they were just last year. In this year’s survey, 17% of respondents felt the quality of care will improve in five years, which is a 5% increase over last year. The full report includes much more information, including physicians’ thoughts on accountable care organizations. Athena also put together a nifty infographic with some of the highlights.