Physician Burnout: A Curable Epidemic

November 9, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Physician burnout has reached "epidemic levels," with prevalence nearing or exceeding 50%, according to a study published September 28, 2016 in The Lancet. Physician burnout, "a work-related syndrome involving emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment," can have negative consequences for patient care, professionalism, and a physician's own health and safety. The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on burnout interventions published before January 15, 2016. The search strategy identified 2,617 studies, with 15 randomized trials including 716 physicians and 37 cohort studies with 2,914 physicians qualifying for inclusion. For the studies reporting differences in overall burnout, interventions resulted in an overall decrease in burnout from 54% to 44%. Emotional exhaustion and depersonalization scores also decreased after interventions.

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