Physician burnout is a patient safety hazard, study suggests 

Physician burnout is associated with a reduction in care quality, a Sept. 14 study published in The BMJ found.

"Burnout is not just a question of personal wellbeing or career satisfaction - it is a matter of patient safety," Latifa Patel, MD, chair of the British Medical Association's representative body, told Bloomberg Sept. 14. "Tired, undervalued and understrength doctors cannot work to the best of their abilities and these figures throw into disturbing relief what that means for patient care."

Researchers conducted an analysis of "all available" research on clinician burnout, evaluating 170 studies that involved more than 239,000 physicians.

Two key findings: 

  • Physician burnout doubled patient safety incidents overall.

  • The association between burnout and patient safety incidents was greatest in physicians aged 20-30 and those working in emergency medicine.

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