Dr. Jamie Wells: Why we need to change the discussion around physician burnout

Healthcare leaders often express concern about physician burnout, but they rarely make physicians feel valued or heard, which would be the solution they are searching for, Jamie Wells, MD, writes in an op-ed for the American Council on Science and Health.

According to Dr. Wells, the term burnout places blame on physicians instead of examining the conditions under which they practice.

"Burnout is a term that should be abolished. Its intent is to blame physicians for being frustrated with a toxic system that promotes inflated bureaucracy, endlessly elevates the latest digital so-called 'innovation' that the field does not even need and devalues the highest quality of care," Dr. Wells writes. "The patient and provider are consistently marginalized in discussion and influence on policy and changes within their own profession."

One aspect of modern physicians' daily routines that Dr. Wells blames for their exhaustion and dissatisfaction with their jobs is EHRs. Dr. Wells believes loosening EHR regulations would allow physicians to focus their time on clinical work, which is what they enjoy most.

"Cumulatively, [EHRs] serve not only to insult any professional, but also to waste their time and distract from pressing issues. Let doctors be doctors. I know, a mind-blowing initiative, but one I imagine would be so revolutionary these days it might have a true impact," Dr. Wells writes.

More articles on hospital-physician relationships:

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More than 50% of physicians have been sued for malpractice, study finds

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