Physician Burnout: Contributors, Consequences, and Solutions.
J Intern Med. 2018 Mar 05;:
Authors: West CP, Dyrbye LN, Shanafelt TD
Physician burnout, a work-related syndrome involving emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment, is prevalent internationally. Rates of burnout symptoms that have been associated with adverse effects on patients, the health care workforce, costs, and physician health exceed 50% in studies of both physicians-in-training and practicing physicians. This problem represents a public health crisis with negative impacts on individual physicians, patients, and health care organizations and systems. Drivers of this epidemic are largely rooted within health care organizations and systems, and include excessive workloads, inefficient work processes, clerical burdens, work-home conflicts, lack of input or control for physicians with respect to issues affecting their work lives, organizational support structures, and leadership culture. Individual physician-level factors also play a role, with higher rates of burnout commonly reported in female and younger physicians. Effective solutions align with these drivers. For example, organizational efforts such as locally-developed practice modifications and increased support for clinical work have demonstrated benefits in reducing burnout. Individually-focused solutions such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and small-group programs to promote community, connectedness, and meaning have also been shown to be effective. Regardless of the specific approach taken, the problem of physician burnout is best addressed when viewed as a shared responsibility of both health care systems and individual physicians. Although our understanding of physician burnout has advanced considerably in recent years, many gaps in our knowledge remain. Longitudinal studies of burnout's effects and the impact of interventions on both burnout and its effects are needed, as are studies of effective solutions implemented in combination. For medicine to fulfill its mission for patients and for public health, all stakeholders in health care delivery must work together to develop and implement effective remedies for physician burnout. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 29505159 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]