Samuel Edwards, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Oregon Health & Science University, Staff Physician at VA Portland Health Care System
Burnout is common in primary care and associated with negative consequences for patients, clinicians and staff. In this study, we examined the prevalence of burnout among clinicians and staff participating in EvidenceNOW, and looked at what practice characteristics were associated with burnout.
We surveyed 10,284 practice members in 1,380 practices, and found that 20.4% of practice members reported burnout overall.
Members of solo practices, clinician owned practices, and practices not participating in accountable care organizations reported less burnout, suggesting practice level autonomy can protect practice members from burnout.
Clinicians reported slightly more burnout than staff, but all practice members reported burnout, demonstrating that burnout is not only a problem for clinicians.
The Bottom Line
Efforts to promote improvement of primary care should consider strategies that minimize burnout risk such as supporting and strengthening solo and smaller practices and encouraging distribution of leadership and decision-making at the practice level in system-owned practices. Programs and policies also need to take into account the work environment and degree of autonomy afforded all practice members, not just physicians.
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