April 30, 2019

Trends, factors linked to physician burnout

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

Physician burnout has reached a critically high level, fueled by regulatory, compliance, and technology demands, but health system leaders at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are working to address and relieve burnout and bring the joy back to the practice of medicine with centrally and locally designed initiatives, this study finds.

Of 1,774 physicians surveyed in 2014 and 1,882 surveyed in 2017, burnout increased from 40.6% to 45.6%. The increased rate was associated with an increase in exhaustion (from 52.9% to 57.7%) and cynicism (from 44.8% to 51.1%). Early career physicians were more likely to report burnout than midcareer and late-career physicians.

Addressing the issue starts with fully understanding it by hearing the concerns of physicians, then customizing interventions to the health system, testing their effects, and sharing what’s working, the authors say.

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