How Does Physician Burnout Affect Patients?

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The American Medical Association strives to promote “the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.” Each year, the AMA reports on physician burnout, describing it as “a major issue that continues to affect doctors and cost the U.S. health care system.” This year, the AMA drew statistics from the Medscape survey National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report 2019. The recent survey found an overall physician burnout rate of 44% with 15% of the survey participants reporting depression. In 2018 the Medscape survey listed critical care, neurology, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine and emergency medicine at the top of the list. In 2019, the survey showed the highest percentage of physician burnout occurring among these specialties:

Urology: 54 percent.

Neurology: 53 percent.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation: 52 percent.

Internal medicine: 49 percent.

Emergency medicine: 48 percent.

Family medicine: 48 percent.

A recent paper by the Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Global Health Institute, has documented widespread physician burnout. ”Burnout is a syndrome involving one or more of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished sense of personal accomplishment.” How does clinician burnout affect patients? The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD, puts it this way:

Burnout can also threaten patient safety and care quality when depersonalization leads to poor interactions with patients and when burned-out physicians suffer from impaired attention, memory, and executive function. The threat to patient safety and medical care quality has reached the level of a public health crisis.

Clinician burnout may result in medical care that does not meet the reasonable standard of care.  Contact Elite Medical Experts Strategy Team to secure a leading university expert hand-selected to fit the fact pattern in your medical malpractice case.

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