96% of leaders say physician burnout is a problem

If there’s one thing that healthcare leaders can agree on, it’s that physician burnout is a major problem.

For the first time since NEJM Catalyst began surveying members of its Insights Council, there was overwhelming agreement on an issue, according to the group’s report. In an October online survey that included healthcare executives, clinical leaders and clinicians, 96% of 570 respondents said physician burnout is a serious or moderate problem in healthcare.

Yet, most respondents said their organizations are doing little to address the problem. Instead, they say organizations are doing “nothing,” “not enough,” “paying lip service” and “talking about the problem in committees but no action plan yet,” according to the report.

There was also a reluctance to take ownership of the problem: 65% of respondents said it is a serious problem in the industry, but only 35% said it was a problem with n their own organizations.

A Mayo Clinic study brought attention to the issue when it found that burnout impacts half the physician workforce and has taken a turn for the worse since 2011. Last month the Mayo released a paper that provided nine tips to improve engagement and reduce physician burnout. 

The Cleveland Clinic is also doing something about burnout. It is offering a training session in relationship-centered communication skills, according to AMA Wire. The training has improved patient satisfaction scores, physician empathy, self-efficacy and reduced burnout, the report said.

More than 1,500 of the 3,220 physicians at the Cleveland Clinic participated in the eight-hour session that includes interactive didactics, live or video skill demonstrations and group practice sessions. After completing the session, 58% of physicians “strongly agreed” it was valuable to their daily practice.