How much is doctor burnout costing America?

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The publication Annals of Internal Medicine printed a study earlier this month indicating the cost of doctor burnout.

In fact, the study defined doctor burnout by some of the following symptoms : emotional fatigue, detachment, low esteem for any achievement, as well as cynical tendencies. This definition is aligned with the same definition used by the WHO.

Moreover, the findings showed data on doctors who had quit or worked fewer hours than expected and other direct and indirect costs related to providing care for patients.  Indeed, doctor burnout costs the US healthcare system $4.6 billion per year.

“Everybody who goes into medicine knows that it’s a stressful career and that it’s a lot of hard work,” says Lotte Dyrbye, a physician and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who co-authored the study.

Furthermore, she acknowledges that the medical profession now brings more and more bureaucracy with less time for patients. Besides, this trend adds extreme stress to doctors. “We want to be able to deliver good quality care to our patients, and our systems get in the way,” Dyrbye says.

In addition, Edward Ellison, who is executive medical director of Southern California Permanente Medical Group, a health care provider in the Kaiser Permanente network that employs over 8,500 physicians, contributed to the publication with an editorial. Finally, he expresses concern in his editorial for the high rate of suicide among doctors which is higher than the rate among the general public.

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