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New Study Shows Doctor Burnout Results in Poor Patient Care

Published: Nov 7, 2018 in Legal Blog, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury

Edwardsville medical malpractice lawyers advocate for patients harmed by overworked physicians. Doctors notoriously work long hours in commonly stressful situations. Every day, they have the constant pressure of medical malpractice claims. Unsurprisingly, between long hours and stress, many physicians experience a burnout. According to a 2017 Medscape Physician Lifestyle Report, 50 percent of U.S. physicians report feeling signs of burnout, which is only four percent more than just a year ago. This is not surprising considering that interns may be required to work up to 18 hours in a row, while residents work up to 28 hours.

Physician Burnout Proves Costly for Health Organizations

According to the findings, the researchers wrote that physician burnout is associated with a reduced efficiency of healthcare systems to deliver high-quality, safe care to patients. Physician burnout tends to be costly for healthcare organizations and disregards the societal need for safe care.

Physician burnout increases the likelihood of broken relationships, alcohol abuse, cardiovascular disease, and decreased life expectancy, depression, and suicide. Additionally, new findings have shown that it is likely that physician burnout is also concerning for patients, as it is associated with an increased risk of safety incidents, poorer quality of care, and reduced patient satisfaction.

A Multi-Study Analysis

The analysis of 47 studies, which included more than 40,0000 physicians and 21 studies of residents, consisted of those with less than five years of experience post-residency, and 26 studies of experienced physicians. The breakdown consisted of 63.8 percent of hospital physicians, 27.7 percent of primary care physicians, and 8.5 percent were of mixed samples of physicians of all care settings.

Physician Burnout Associated with Issues of Patient Safety

From the study, researchers assessed that physician burnout was associated with twice the odds of patient safety issues. This was regardless of the type of burnout that the doctors experienced, such as emotional exhaustion, reduced personal accomplishment, and depersonalization. Symptoms of emotional distress and depression were the riskiest potential dimensions of burnout.

Furthermore, burnout was associated with twice the risk of demonstrating low professionalism to patients. Those experiencing depersonalization are three times more likely to demonstrate low professionalism, while emotional exhaustion and reduced personal accomplishment were both associated with 2.5 times the risk of demonstrating low professionalism.

Low Patient Satisfaction

As for patient-reported satisfaction, those with burnout are twice as likely to have patients with low satisfaction. Depersonalization are 4.5 times more likely to have patients who were not very satisfied, while reduced personal accomplishment was associated with more than two times the likelihood of patient dissatisfaction. Emotional exhaustion was reported as not having much of a noticeable effect on patient satisfaction. For those physicians with less than five years of post-residency experience, the association with burnout and patient dissatisfaction was the largest compared to their middle and late-stage counterparts.

Edwardsville Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Advocate for Patients Harmed by Overworked Physicians

If you or someone you know has been the recipient of medical negligence resulting in personal injury, you deserve the assistance of the experienced and knowledgeable Edwardsville medical malpractice lawyers. At The Cates Law Firm, LLC, we work with those in the Swansea and Bellville, Illinois areas to make things as easy as possible. We want to help do the same for you. For a free consultation call us at 618-277-3644 or contact us online today.