Learning From Physician Burnout

Physician Burnout

Most physicians think they are burning out – over 60% in a recent survey. 6% reported severe burnout.

Is this crisis just a collection of individuals with problems? Or purely a consequence of EHR and bureaucratic tasks?

Education, awareness, and even mental health interventions do help, but they are not enough. More methods are needed to treat burnout. These might be found where physicians are most satisfied. In general, physicians say they have better experiences at independent practices. Independent physicians reported:

  • Better working relationships
  • More satisfaction with family time
  • More influence over management decisions
  • Better satisfaction with being a physician
  • Better perceived quality of the care they provided
  • Greater ability to achieve professional goals
  • Lesser intention to leave the practice

For better or worse, independent practices are quickly disappearing as these health systems are consolidating throughout the US.

Major healthcare systems concerned with burnout have a lot of learn from the physicians who haven’t joined a system yet.

Being a physician is demanding. Burnout will never completely fade from the profession. The whole system around a physician contributes to burnout. Exploring why is an urgent priority. Independent physicians are a good place to start.