Research conducted throughout the last ten years has pointed to an increasing level of burnout among medical students and doctors in residency. These students and residents are becoming burned out over the course of their training and experiencing physical and emotional exhaustion, a loss of empathy for patients, and serious second thoughts about their career choices.
Now the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a study that focused on burnout among practicing physicians. It turns out that doctors are just as likely to succumb to burnout as medical students. Burnout among doctors is characterized by the same exhaustion and loss of empathy, but can be considered more dangerous since, unlike medical students and residents, physicians are generally not closely supervised.
In the study of over 7,000 physicians, almost half described feelings of emotional exhaustion, detachment from their patients and a lack of feelings of personal and professional accomplishment. When compared to questionnaire responses from people who work in unrelated fields, it was found that doctors are more likely to suffer from burnout. In the majority of cases, a connection was made with incidence of burnout and working on the front lines of health care; namely general medicine, family medicine and emergency medicine. Meanwhile, hours worked appeared to have little influence.
In the study a high proportion of doctors described many of the same frustrations and concerns. The limited time available to spend with each patient was a leading complaint. Practicing physicians are also frustrated by changing rules and new administrative tasks set by insurance companies and restrictions on what treatments and medications can be offered to patients. These factors can lead to a lack of meaning for doctors in their work.
Some things, like the changing health care insurance landscape, are out of doctors’ control. There are, however, steps that can be taken to reduce the stress of running a medical practice and hopefully reduce the chance of getting burned out on treating patients.
At ProMD Practice Management we can handle a number of your medical practice’s administrative and operational tasks, freeing your time to be better spent providing patient care. Call us today to set an appointment with one of our expert consultants. We can perform a practice assessment which will reveal what adjustments can be made to have your practice run smoothly.
ProMD Practice Management is happy to help with your billing assessment needs so you can maximize profits and increase patient satisfaction. To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 888-622-7498 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.