Physician burnout: Detailing the impact, exploring solutions

Troy Parks , News Writer

The growing focus on physician well-being led to some of our best-read stories, which not only examined burnout’s impact but also how leading health systems are moving to address doctors’ wellness while improving care.

What makes doctors great also drives burnout: A double-edged sword. A physician burnout expert from explained how physicians in the often have an intrinsic risk of burnout. Learn about the role that the “physician personality” can play in burnout and ways to help address burnout as a systemwide issue.

Burnout driving physicians to cut down work hours. A study found that high levels of burnout and low professional satisfaction scores predict a reduction in work levels. Learn more about which physicians are reducing their work hours and what is being done to improve professional satisfaction.

How the Mayo Clinic is battling burnout. With physician burnout at 54.4 percent nationwide, according to a study on burnout in specialties, the medical world needs solutions now—and the Mayo Clinic is pioneering a model designed to raise camaraderie and increase collaboration to reduce burnout among its physicians. Find out why this health system started treating physicians as architects in practice rather than construction workers.

Avoiding burnout: Strategies for senior physicians. “Is this a sunrise or a sunset?” Robert L. Hatch, MD, asked senior physicians during a presentation at the 2016 AMA Interim Meeting. He had shown them an image of a fisherman in a boat with the sun low on the horizon. Burnout pervades every level of a medical career, but sometimes one way to prevent it or recover from it is to reexamine your perspective and priorities.

Cleveland Clinic’s approach to burnout focuses on relationships. You can try, but it’s not easy to find a physician who wants to add another commitment to an already busy schedule. At the Cleveland Clinic, a one-time training session in relationship-centered communication skills improved patient satisfaction scores, physician empathy and self-efficacy, and reduced physician burnout through three simple phases.