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Physician Burnout May Raise Risk for Patient Safety Events

Burnout also associated with decreased job satisfaction, low professionalism, patient dissatisfaction

FRIDAY, Sept. 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Burnout in physicians is associated with a decrease in job satisfaction and with increased patient safety events and patient dissatisfaction, according to a review published online Sept. 14 in The BMJ.

Alexander Hodkinson, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the association of physician burnout with career engagement and the quality of patient care. The meta-analysis included 170 observational studies with 239,246 physicians.

The researchers found that overall physician burnout was associated with an almost fourfold decrease in job satisfaction versus increased job satisfaction (odds ratio, 3.79). Career choice regret increased by more than threefold compared with being satisfied with career choice in the presence of increased burnout (odds ratio, 3.49). Compared with retention, turnover intention also increased by more than threefold (odds ratio, 3.10). A small but significant association with burnout was seen for productivity (odds ratio, 1.82); burnout also may impact career development (odds ratio, 3.77). Patient safety incidents were doubled with physician burnout (odds ratio, 2.04), and low professionalism was more than twice as likely as burnout increased (odds ratio, 2.33), as was patient dissatisfaction (odds ratio, 2.22).

“Moving forward, investment strategies to monitor and improve physician burnout are needed as a means of retaining the health care workforce and improving the quality of patient care,” the authors write.

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