Physician Burnout Jumps Dramatically In Just a Few Years

In a commentary in The American Journal of Medicine, Drs. Andrew G. Alexander and Kenneth A. Ballou reported 3 factors for physician burnout:

1. The traditional doctor-patient relationship has been dwarfed by the relationship between health insurance providers and patients, with companies standing in the way of fast and appropriate treatments ordered by physicians.
3. Doctors are feeling more cynical as a whole, because patients don’t expect continuity of care anymore and routinely change doctors.
3. General lack of enthusiasm for their work.

Only 40% of physicians reported that they have a healthy work-life balance in 2014.

Work-life balance is defined as:

1. Satisfaction from work.
2. Ability to have a happy life away from work.

More than 90% of graduating residents now choose to be employees rather then to open a private practice. If they choose private practice, they may have to wait 6 months to be enrolled in the insurers panels.

5 transformational medical practice events could have contributed to the spike in physician burnout, according to the authors:

1. Hospital purchases of medical groups
2. Rising drug prices
3. The Affordable Care Act
4. 'Pay for performance’ in which providers are offered financial incentives to improve quality and efficiency
5. Mandated electronic health records (EHR)

After a review, the authors put the majority of the blame on EHR. Do you agree or disagree?


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