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7 Fixes For Physician Burnout, According To Physicians

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Oct 25, 2019.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    According to a new national survey, physicians reported that burnout and job dissatisfaction are largely rooted in “data entry” and other non-clinical demands that are placed on them. Physicians also said that to prevent burnout, employers must enable physicians to spend more time with patients and less time on administrative tasks.

    “The survey showed physicians are still burned out, and in part, long to be treated like the valued employees they are,” said Heather Lavoie, president of Geneia, Harrisburg, PA, the healthcare analytics company that commissioned the survey.

    “They want to be heard, engaged, and cared for just as most employees do, including time for bathroom breaks, lunch, and vacations,” she said. “Most of all, they want time to create impactful relationships with their patients, which is likely why they chose to become doctors.”

    Your index of misery

    Despite increasing awareness of the pervasiveness of physician burnout, nationwide indicators have shown that it’s only gotten worse. The company’s initial survey in 2015 found that the Physician Misery Index—its national measure of physician dissatisfaction—was at 3.78 out of 5.00. In a follow-up survey of 300 physicians in 2018, the Physician Misery index had increased to 3.94. According to the 2018 survey:
    • 87% of surveyed physicians said they find it increasingly harder to spend time “developing an authentic engagement with each patient.”
    • 77% reported they know a physician who is likely to stop practicing in the next 5 years due to burnout.
    • 74% said the challenges of practicing medicine in today’s environment have caused them to consider career options outside of clinical practice.
    • 83% said they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career.
    Seven strategies

    The most recent survey, conducted online in August 2019, included responses from 401 practicing physicians. According to Geneia, the results have a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points and a 95% level of confidence.

    Results from this survey showed that nearly all physicians—97%—agreed with the statements:
    • “Physician burnout and dissatisfaction are deeply connected to the data collection and other non-clinical demands that are placed on physicians. To address burnout, employers of physicians need to put much greater emphasis on increasing the current allocation of time per patient that physicians spend with patients.”
    • “Curbing physician burnout is an absolutely critical and necessary component for employers to address. If employers of physicians do not do something quickly to sustain and keep physicians satisfied, we won’t have the quality workforce we need.”
    Said Lavoie, “Undoubtedly, EHRs remain a lightning rod for physicians, and the health IT industry needs to step up its commitment to improving the usability of technology.”

    But, she added, the survey also revealed that “much of physician dissatisfaction is due to remediable, workforce issues like work-life balance, healthy and accessible food options, and time to take breaks and vacations. In other words, physicians are seeking adequate time to provide quality care to their patients.”

    To that end, survey respondents categorized seven strategies or programs that employers could provide to address dissatisfaction and to remediate burnout in the workplace. In order of priority, these are:
    1. Focus on work-life balance (97%)
    2. Reduce physician hours (82%)
    3. Make mental and physical wellness resources more available (76%)
    4. Build team unity (70%)
    5. Provide professional and leadership development (66%)
    6. Assess workplace safety (62%)
    7. Offer physician mentoring programs (59%)
    The survey results also showed that physicians emphasized a greater need for personal wellness. When asked to rate the value of personal wellness opportunities in the workplace, physicians ranked these as the highest:
    1. Healthy and accessible food options (82% “value”, 44% “strongly value”)
    2. Comfort-designed lounge areas (70% “value”, 33% “strongly value”)
    3. Yoga and fitness classes (63% “value”, 30% “strongly value”)

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