US physician burnout drops below 50% for first time since 2011, study finds

U.S. physician burnout has dropped below 50 percent for the first time since 2011, according to a recent joint study by the American Medical Association, Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine and the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

More than 5,000 physicians responded to a survey conducted by researchers from the three institutions. Researchers found 43.9 percent of U.S. physicians exhibited at least one symptom of burnout in 2017, compared to 45.5 percent in 2011.

Survey respondents also identified a higher level of work-life balance in 2017 (42.7 percent) than in 2014 (40.9 percent). The 2017 percentage was still less than levels in 2011 (48.7 percent).

After adjusting for age, gender, hours worked in a week and other factors, physicians still remained at an increased risk for burnout and depression, researchers found. The study, published in Mayo Clinical Proceedings, noted that overall levels of burnout have remained consistent around 28 percent since 2011.

"The progress demonstrated in today's research suggests that growing national efforts to address physician burnout are on the right track, but more work is needed to achieve meaningful change. Addressing the crisis requires continued investment from the health system in a comprehensive strategy that targets barriers to efficiently providing patients with high-quality care as the primary driver of physician burnout," AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, said in a statement.

To access the full report, click here.

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