Results of a new study reveal how widespread burnout is among physicians, how they are coping and what they say has led to their feelings of burnout. In its 2019 Physician Burnout Survey, Medical Economics, a multimedia platform that provides resources for physicians, unveiled results that include:

  1. 92% of physicians said they have felt burned out from practicing medicine at some point in their career.

  2. 37% of physicians said paperwork and payer regulations contributed the most to their feelings of burnout, while 19% said a poor work-life balance and working too many hours made them feel burned out.

  3. 29% of physicians said they spend time with family and friends to cope with burnout; 26% said they exercise.

  4. 73% of physicians surveyed said burnout made them want to quit practicing medicine.

  5. Survey respondents said physicians leading the future of medicine and less paperwork could help solve the issue of burnout.

“More than two-thirds of our physician readers told us they feel burned out right now,” said Chris Mazzolini, the editorial director of Medical Economics. “Our exclusive survey shows burnout can affect all physicians, regardless of age, gender, specialty or practice type. Burnout has a direct impact on practice performance and patient care. Healthcare leaders and policymakers can help fix this crisis — but only if they start listening to physicians.”

The study broke down respondents’ answers when asked how they cope with burnout:

  • Spending time with family and friends – 29%

  • Exercise – 26%

  • Nothing, I don’t cope – 13%

  • Hobbies – 10%

  • Eating junk food – 6%

  • Practicing yoga/meditation – 5%

  • Alcohol – 4%

When asked about solutions, physicians offered some suggestions:

“Empower physicians to have more control of how, when and where they practice. Physicians feel powerless when they have no choice.”

“The autonomy to practice without micromanagement by pharmacy benefit managers, dramatic simplification/elimination of the ridiculous documentation requirements for billing.”

“Collective bargaining by and for physicians utilizing agents as chief negotiators. We have our ethics and individuality used against us. An individual doctor rarely wields any power versus a hospital or insurer. However, the ability of a group or union could/would be a game changer. Use the NFL players union as an example.”

For a breakdown of the survey results, click here.

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