Mayo Clinic: Reversing physician burnout, using nine strategies to promote well-being

November 18, 2016

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Researchers at Mayo Clinic have been documenting the rise and costs of physician burnout for more than a decade. Now, they are proposing nine strategies that health care organizations can use to reverse the trend and limit the risk to patients and their medical staff. Tait Shanafelt, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic's Program on Physician Well-being, and John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic, offer the nine-point plan in the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

"Research has shown that more than half of U.S. physicians are experiencing symptoms of burnout, and the rate is increasing," says Dr. Shanafelt, first author of the article. "Unfortunately, many organizations see burnout as a personal problem to be addressed by the individual physician. It is clear, however, that burnout is a system issue, and addressing it is the shared responsibility of both the individuals and health care organizations."

"The reasons we need to reverse this trend in physician burnout are compelling," says Dr. Noseworthy. "Professional exhaustion and disillusionment can adversely impact clinical performance, and result in medical errors and decreased quality of care. This situation hurts patients and providers, and we need to fix it."

The organizational impact of physician burnout can include lower productivity, staff turnover, decreased quality of care and malpractice suits. For the individual physician, burnout can lead to broken relationships, alcoholism and suicide.

The nine strategies suggest organizations should begin to resolve burnout by:
  1. Acknowledging and assessing the problem
  2. Recognizing the behaviors of leaders that can increase or decrease burnout
  3. Using a systems approach to develop targeted interventions to improve efficiency and reduce clerical work
  4. Cultivating community at work
  5. Using rewards and incentives strategically
  6. Assessing whether the organizations actions are aligned with the stated values and mission
  7. Implementing organizational practices and policies that promote flexibility and work-life balance
  8. Providing resources to help individuals promote self-care
  9. Supporting organizational science (Study the factors in your own institution that contribute to the problem, and invest in solutions.)


The article details how these strategies have been applied at Mayo Clinic and their effect on physician burnout. The authors conclude that "deliberate, sustained and comprehensive efforts by the organization to reduce burnout and promote engagement can make a difference".

The article ends with a clear challenge that there is much work to be done to address the problem of physician burnout nationally.
-end-
The work was funded by the Mayo Clinic Program on Physician Well-Being.

About Mayo Clinic Proceedings

Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Proceedings is sponsored by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to physician education. It publishes submissions from authors worldwide. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000. Articles are available at mayoclinicproceedings.org.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

Mayo Clinic

Related Mayo Clinic Articles from Brightsurf:

Mayo Clinic-led study links obesity with pancreatitis
A study by researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona published in the The Journal of Clinical Investigation has found that obesity is not only implicated in chronic diseases such as diabetes, but also in sudden-onset diseases such as pancreatitis.

Mayo Clinic researchers clarify how cells defend themselves from viruses
A protein known to help cells defend against infection also regulates the form and function of mitochondria, according to a new paper in Nature Communications.

Mayo Clinic study looks at changes in outcomes for coronary revascularization
The most common type of heart disease -- coronary artery disease -- affects 6.7% of adults and accounts for 20% of 2 in 10 deaths of adults under age 65.

Mayo Clinic researchers review modern cases of leprosy
Leprosy has a history that has spanned centuries and societies across the globe.

Kidney stones on the rise, Mayo Clinic study finds
Kidney stones are a painful health condition, often requiring multiple procedures at great discomfort to the patient.

Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrate value of second opinions
Many patients come to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation before treatment for a complex condition.

Mayo Clinic researchers clarify chemo resistance, and perhaps a new therapy
Mayo Clinic scientists have identified a specific protein implicated in drug resistance, as well as a possible therapeutic tool.

Mayo Clinic researchers identify therapy
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that an experimental drug, LCL161, stimulates the immune system, leading to tumor shrinkage in patients affected by multiple myeloma.

Mayo Clinic researchers uncover new agents
Mayo Clinic researchers have uncovered three new agents to add to the emerging repertoire of drugs that aim to delay the onset of aging by targeting senescent cells -- cells that contribute to frailty and other age-related conditions.

Mayo Clinic: Reversing physician burnout, using nine strategies to promote well-being
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have been documenting the rise and costs of physician burnout for more than a decade.

Read More: Mayo Clinic News and Mayo Clinic Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.