Tackling Physician Burnout at Its Root

Tackling Physician Burnout at Its Root

Burnout is not something that is new or unique among physicians. In a 2011 survey by the American Medical Association and the Mayo Clinic, 45% of surveyed physicians met criteria for burnout. That number jumped to 55% in 2014 during a follow-up survey.

When looking at burnout by specialty, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, and Internal Medicine are among the top specialties reporting the highest percentages of burnout. Bureaucratic tasks, too many hours at work, and increasing computerization are the most common reasons for burnout, with many doctors struggling to find balance in their lives.

While there are an array of tactics to help physicians cope with burnout, there are very few efforts that target actual systematic change. Ideas that do focus on change at a systematic level, such as expanding the work of clinicians who are not physicians, like nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, are often met with strong opposition.

Rates of burnout continue to rise and solutions are elusive. In a society where we lose 300 to 400 physicians to suicide each year, what is the answer?

Read more on this issue at Modern Healthcare.


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