Study: Physician burnout puts patient safety at increased risk

A study described in an American Journal of Managed Care blog post found that physician burnout is associated with an increased risk of patient safety incidents, lower quality care, and decreased patient satisfaction.

The study centered on an analysis of 47 studies, which collected data from more than 40,000 physicians combined, published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Ultimately, researchers discovered that physicians suffering from burnout are more than twice as much at risk for patient safety incidents. This increased risk was seen specifically in physicians who were emotionally drained and/or exhibited symptoms of depression or emotional distress.

Both established and new physicians experiencing burnout faced similar risk levels for patient safety incidents; however, residents and new physicians suffering from burnout were likely to also exhibit a lack of professionalism in comparison to physicians more established in their careers.

Source: Becker’s Hospital Review