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Physician Burnout: Causes & Interventions

Physician burnout has been a serious cause of concern in the healthcare community. However, ever since the pandemic began, the problem has been exacerbated alarmingly.

With hospitals running low on beds and staff, doctors had to step up to ensure that the sick were being taken care of, often putting themselves at risk. Being isolated from their families, work anxieties, and busy schedules also took a toll on their mental and physical health, leading to increased reports of burnout.

It is high time that we recognize physician burnout as a public health crisis and take concrete steps to not only help our healthcare heroes, but also create a working environment that prioritizes their safety and mental health.

Highlighting Causes Of Burnout

As several health experts have pointed out at top healthcare conferences, many factors may contribute to causing burnout in physicians. From being overworked, given too many administrative tasks, having to deal with digitalization, not being able to give enough time to patients, to be in the OT for hours and hours — all of these are the reasons that physicians cited that led to burnouts.

Having to deal with too much paperwork all the time can be anxiety-inducing. What is concerning is that 74% of clinicians have reported that they end up spending at least 10 hours a week on administrative tasks. This leaves them with less time to dedicate to patient care.

Coming to digitalization: many senior doctors may find it difficult to deal with the overwhelming changes brought by the adoption of technology in the workplace. It is absolutely essential for healthcare facilities to dedicate resources and time towards training doctors to work with new technologies and tools in order to ensure that the transition is a smooth and stress-free one. This will also ensure that they have more time to do what they are passionate about, i.e. caring for their patients.

Solutions

One of the primary causes of physician burnout is excessive workload. Not only is it against the interests of health practitioners, but it can also affect patient outcomes and lead to serious errors in emergency rooms and operation theaters.

Here, it is the responsibility of healthcare institutions to ensure that they are adequately staffed so that their employees don’t end up working long hours. Employees must be encouraged to maintain a healthy work-life balance and be given a safe space to talk about their mental health.

However, one must acknowledge that the severe healthcare staff shortage issue can’t be resolved by hospitals alone. Policymakers must walk the extra mile and offer initiatives to make medical education and training more accessible and affordable. At the same time, academic institutions help hospitals find appropriate talent by equipping students with the tools and training needed to flourish. What we are looking at are significant changes that will not only enhance the well-being of physicians but also lead to enhanced patient outcomes.

In addition to this, here are a few really effective recommendations that can help healthcare institutions to address the growing problem of burnout in physicians:

  1. Reducing administrative burdens and encouraging the delegation of non-clinical tasks

  2. Bringing in automation to make the work of healthcare practitioners easier

  3. Ensuring the proper flow of information through established channels of communication to reduce work stress.

  4. Introducing employees to coping strategies and ways through which they can maintain work-life balance.

Signing Off

For more information on this critical subject, register for post-COVID healthcare conferences in Las Vegas and Dubai, such as the Health 2.0 Conference!

shivani

A valuable member of the Health 2.0 Conference team, Shivani Verma is enthusiastic about keeping herself updated on the latest developments in healthcare and wellness. She walks the extra mile to acquire information around MedTech wearables, fraud identification, AI in healthcare, and how to spot fake and spam health insurance schemes. She swears by yoga and is an avid movie buff.