Physician Burnout is an ongoing concern in the medical field. Trying to manage the stress of patient cases, administrative tasks and balancing life challenges are among the reasons why physicians are feeling the pressure.
A Medscape Physician Lifestyle Survey published in January asked 14,000 doctors to rate their top challenges in 2017. Physician burnout was still a key factor in the discussion.
The survey asked physicians to identify their race, gender, and age in order to explore associations with patient care, behavior, and levels of happiness.
Emergency Physicians the Most Burned Out
In 2017, the facts seem to point that emergency doctors still suffer the highest rates of burnout at 59% agreeing they felt burned out. This was closely followed by obstetricians and gynecologists at 56%. Family and Internal rated at 55% for experiencing physician burnout.
Female and Younger Physicians feel the pressure
Female physicians rated themselves higher on the physician burnout scale at 55% compared to male physicians rating themselves at 45%. Physicians under the age of 45 also suffered higher burnout rates compared to those over age 45.
According to Carol Peckham writing for Medscape, “younger physicians admitted bias toward patients with emotional problems and perceived low intelligence compared with older peers.”
Most physicians are happier outside the clinic
Another interesting finding was that approximately 39-45% of physicians are less happy at work while over 67% reported feeling happy outside of work. This shows a clear distinction in the lack of fulfillment and enjoyment doctors feel in their roles in 2017. It is also likely a strong contributor to physician burnout.
Administrative and computer tasks causing burnout
“Too many administrative tasks” was a key cause of frustration and physician burnout. On a scale of 1 to 7, most surveyed physicians listed administrative tasks as higher than 5.
This was closely followed by “too many hours at work, which rated as 4.7. Interestingly, “increased computerization of the practice (EHR)” was a high rating as well at 4.5.
It seems that although the younger generation of doctors have perhaps an edge in using technology, that it is not increasing their level of satisfaction inside the workplace.
The pressure to compile reports and complete necessary forms for Meaningful Use, Insurance compliance and the Affordable Care Act changes are all causing doctors to “feel like a cog in a wheel.”
Physician burnout continues to be an area for monitoring by all healthcare professionals, and the hope is that modern automation technology in medical offices may soon be a solution to reduce some of the stress and dissatisfaction.