Many Georgia docs burned out, look to early retirement

Many doctors today are experiencing burnout. From having to document patient care in the electronic health record to the increased government oversight, 67 percent of physicians in Georgia, in particular, are somewhat pessimistic about the future of medicine--that’s compared with 63 percent of doctors nationally.

The survey of 510 doctors in Georgia also reveals that half often or always have feelings of burnout, which is similar to the national average, reports Georgia Health News. Commenting on the survey, Walker Ray, M.D., a retired physician and president of the Physicians Foundation, says the burnout rate is concerning for both physicians and patients alike.

“No one is going to feel sorry for doctors,” according to Ray. “Here’s why it should matter: If physicians are being led to change their practices, that would limit access to care. It would create some kind of public health problem. That’s why it should matter.”

Forty-nine percent of the physicians included in the survey are 56 or older--that’s compared with 40 percent nationally--and Ray told the publication that “older doctors are a little more pessimistic.” According to the survey, older doctors also more likely to pursue early retirement, as a direct result of the many changes taking place in healthcare.

To address burnout among physicians, Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic sponsors dinners that allow doctors to discuss the stressful aspects of their work, as previously reported by FiercePracticeManagement. Minneapolis-based Hennepin County Medical Center has created a wellness center, in addition to a “rest room,” which allows physicians to have breathing room.