Physician burnout up 25%+ in 4 years: 6 findings

Physician burnout totaled 51 percent this year, with reported cases increasing by more than 25 percent over the last four years, Medscape reports.

In the "Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017: Race and Ethnicity, Bias and Burnout," Medscape polled more than 14,000 physicians spanning more than 30 specialties.

Here are six findings:

1. Emergency medicine physicians reported the highest burnout rate amongst practicing physicians at 59 percent, with obstetrics and gynecology providers trailing closely behind at 56 percent.

2. Family medicine, internal medicine and infectious disease providers all reported burnout rates of 55 percent.

3. When rating burnout's severity, urologists reported the highest severity rate. Urologists rated their severity at 4.6 on a seven-point scale, with seven meaning "It is so severe that I am thinking of leaving medicine altogether."

4. The primary driver for burnout amongst responding physicians was "performing too many bureaucratic tasks," followed by "spending too many hours at work."

5. Burnout rates were highest in the Northwest (54 percent) and lowest in the West (49 percent). The Southwest had a 53 percent burnout rate while South Central had a 52 percent burnout rate. The Southeast and North Central regions both had 50 percent burnout rates.

Medscape notes there is likely minimal correlation between regional compensation and burnout, as North Central had the highest average compensation based on the "2016 Medscape Physician Compensation Report."

6. The report indicated some correlation between race/ethnicity and burnout, with physicians identifying as Chinese having a 56 percent burnout rate. Those identifying as other Asian had a 53 percent burnout rate. Vietnamese and white/Caucasian ethnic groups had a 52 percent burnout rate. Respondents who identified as Asian Indian had the lowest reported burnout rate (46 percent).

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