60% to 75% of physicians throughout the country report instances of depression and exhaustion since the start of the pandemic. Add in the fact that physicians were already twice as likely to report burnout then those in other professions and it is no surprise the medical community is at risk for a serious shake up.
Why the increase in physician burnout?
Medical professionals point to the increased shift to a business atmosphere within the practice of medicine and the pressure to follow ever evolving regulations as two primary causes of this surge of frustration in the medical profession.
What can physicians do to reduce their risk?
There is no easy answer. Doctors that push themselves too hard risk making a mistake that could trigger an investigation that puts their medical license at risk or in extreme cases leads to a lawsuit. Those that choose to leave may be concerned the community they have served is left without needed medical care.
Tips that can lead to change to address this issue include:
- Push for chief wellness officers. Since hospitals and medical facilities are operating more like a corporation than ever before, consider advocating for a c-suite that represents your interests. A chief wellness officer can dig into tech and staffing issues and advocate on the behalf of the medical staff.
- Adapt the charter on physician wellbeing. The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends healthcare facilities adapt this charter to combat burnout. It includes recommendations to shift the medical culture to one that better supports its professionals.
- Be the change. It is not a novel concept, but it works. Take steps that are in line with the needed change. This can include taking time off for your own mental health as well as investing in research efforts that gathers data to support change.
The AMA and other groups are also pushing for legislative change to address this issue. These include a push to remove barriers that could reduce administrative and tech burdens. We will watch these efforts and provide updates as they become available.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication