07 Sep Physician Burnout Linked to Increased Patient Safety Risks
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Maria Panagioti, Senior Research Fellow
Division of Population Health
Health Services Research & Primary Care
University of Manchester
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Several studies have shown that the demanding work environment has alarming consequences on the well-being of physicians. Over 50 percent of physicians experience significant signs of burnout across medical specialities. However, the consequences of burnout on patient care are less well-known.
This is the largest meta-analysis to date which pooled data from 43,000 doctors to examine the relationship between burnout in physicians and patient safety, professionalism and patient satisfaction.
We found that burnout in physicians is associated with two times increased risk for patient safety incidents, reduced professionalism and lower patient satisfaction. Particularly in residents and early career physicians, burnout was associated with almost 4 times increased risk for reduced professionalism.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our results highlight that health care organisations have a duty to invest in large-scale co-ordinated strategies to reduce burnout in physicians. Failure to mitigate burnout puts patient safety and the wider efficiency of health care at risk. Particular focus should be placed on residents and early career physicians.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Medical errors cost several billions to health care systems every year. Physician burnout is costly for healthcare organizations. Current interventions for improving patient safety have mainly focused on identifying and monitoring vulnerable patients and at times vulnerable systems but have overlooked physician burnout. There is a striking research need for innovative models of interventions which will mitigate all three major contributory factors to medical errors: vulnerable patients, vulnerable systems and burnt-out physicians.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: This study has been funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research and the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Centre. The has study has been led by the University of Manchester in collaboration with colleagues from Keele University, University of Birmingham, University of Leeds and University of Westminster in the United Kingdom.
Panagioti M, Geraghty K, Johnson J, et al. Association Between Physician Burnout and Patient Safety, Professionalism, and Patient SatisfactionA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 04, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3713
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