Healthcare Leaders Still Know Little About Physician Burnout

A group of 470 clinicians, mostly doctors and nurses, were surveyed on burnout. A whopping 70% reported experiencing the symptoms “considerably” or “a great deal”, while 90% agreed that it is a “public health crisis that demands urgent action”. But they were only asked about causes as they relate to technology, or at least that’s all they reported here. Still 89% identified tech as causing it through “burdensome or increased workload not related to patient care”.

Conclusions? You might have guessed: “The paper suggests three solutions to reduce the risk of clinical burnout: support proactive mental health treatment and support, improve EHR usability, and appoint an executive-level chief wellness officer.”

But 40% of respondents said neither of these would work, compared to 30% or less agreeing either of those three things would. The report also shows that we don’t “seek help” and wonders why. It deserves some credit for going on to discuss issues such as moral injury briefly, though with no data. Comments from individual respondents are given, the type that no administrator would respond to if brought to them by an underling.

Basically, this was “A report for Healthcare Leaders”, as the title says, because everyone else already knows what the problems are. And yet they hid the essential findings from them by reiterating the usual suggestions from the burnout industry, unrelated to the data presented. And the games continue.

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Bridget Reidy MD

Bridget Reidy is an FP practicing near Victoria, British Columbia who abhors hypocrisy, waste, euphemisms, and useless bureaucrats, ie inauthentic medicine. She was a board certified FP with a certificate of additional qualifications in palliaitive care, no longer because, MOC. She did her residency in rural Marquette Michigan in the eighties, and spent her career mostly in the US in a variety of settings, emergency, urgent care, family practice - including locums on reservations, prisons and medicaid mills, and housecall practice - including work as a hospice medical director. Now she owns and runs a solo cottage industry style family practice, typical of Canadain FP's. She is on the advisory board of The Medical Post, Canada's newsletter for physicians, and a member of BC GP's for reform. 

  4 comments for “Healthcare Leaders Still Know Little About Physician Burnout

  1. PW
    July 23, 2019 at 9:22 am

    A chief wellness officer? Oh lord.

    • Ken Williams MD
      August 2, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

  2. Pat
    July 22, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Excellent points. The ridiculousness of these suggestions prove just how little those pulling the strings really care about burnout.

    And I reiterate, any physician admitting to burnout or seeking mental health using his/her real name is painting a bullseye on their forehead. SLKM

  3. Clifford Norman
    July 22, 2019 at 11:03 am

    No Little or Know Little?

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