Want to know a major driver of physician burnout? Like with most other professions, it starts with employers.
The transition to an employed-physician model has created a burnout monster, says Dr. Dike Drummond, who is CEO of The Happy MD and author of Stop Physician Burnout. Hospitals have not figured out how take care of these “super hero, workaholic, Lone Ranger, perfectionists.”
The results, Drummond says, speak for themselves. Since 2014, the average burnout rate has hovered around 50 percent. Prior to that, the figure stood at about one in three.
“Those measurements are strongly linked to doctors making more errors, lower patient satisfaction, lower quality of care, staff turnover and higher divorce rates among doctors, as well as alcohol and drug addiction, plus suicide,” Drummond says.
One of the primary culprits are electronic medical records.
“EMRs were designed to be absolute brain-melting, zombie-producing nightmares,” Drummond says.
But doctors have to play ball if they want to keep their steady gigs and avoid going independent. And employers need to do their part if they want to do right by patients and their employees. So, how can employers help correct the physician burnout problem?
Owning the Physician Burnout Issue
Employers can start, Drummond says, by realizing that this actually is their problem and take ownership of the issue. This begins with “completing doctors’ medical education.”
“Doctors need to be able to recognize the signs, symptoms, causes and experience of being burned out,” Drummond says.