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3 Common Signs of Physician Burnout

By September 16, 2021 No Comments
physician burnout

Physicians are committed to improving other people’s well-being, but what about their own?  Like anyone at a demanding job, physician burnout can happen, and it does.

According to the Journal of Internal Medicine, “Rates of burnout symptoms that have been associated with adverse effects on patients, the healthcare workforce, costs, and physician health exceed 50% in studies of both physicians‐in‐training and practicing physicians.  This problem represents a public health crisis.”

So how do we address this “public health crisis?”  Whether you’re an office manager at a family practice or a medical assistant at an OB/GYN, there are several telltale signs of burnout applicable to any specialty.  Identifying them will allow you to react accordingly and perhaps even prevent some mistakes from happening at your office.

Here are 3 key ways to tell if a physician at your practice is experiencing burnout.

An Increase in Medical Errors

One of the biggest signs of physician burnout is an increase in errors at your practice.  Medical errors not only endanger your patients, but they also make your physician more susceptible to expensive litigation and malpractice claims.  If you observe your physician making more mistakes than usual, or even notice an increase in forgetfulness, your staff might want to have an honest conversation with them before their errors have serious consequences.

A Growing Lack of Professionalism

Another sign of physician burnout is a growing lack of professionalism in the office.  This behavior manifests itself in multiple ways.  Have they become more negative toward their staff and patients?  Have they been absent more than usual?  Has their “bedside manner” waned by showing depersonalization and impatience with the people they’re treating?  Have they started to complain about working after hours?  All of these actions are signs of emotional exhaustion and need to be addressed before they worsen.

Patient Complaints

Oftentimes, patients will see a side of the physician that the staff doesn’t.  Behind closed doors, a physician might demonstrate concerning behavior that they are able to hide around their employees.  Reputation management tools will often shed light on “burnout behavior” when it occurs.  If you begin to see a pattern of complaints on Google or social media, the time to act is now.  With more people than ever making their physician choices based on online reviews, a few negative experiences could permanently damage your practice’s reputation.

Combat Physician Burnout Through Technology

Outside of your staff having an honest conversation with the burnt-out physician, consider finding software solutions that will make their lives easier.  DocResponse, for instance, is an all-in-one patient engagement platform that has been proven to:

  • reduce staff documentation time by over 70% per patient visit
  • save physicians and clinical staff 11 minutes per visit
  • eliminate after-hours chart documentation

Technology is seen as a burden by some, but when used properly, it’s more friend than foe.  Contact DocResponse to learn more about how their software prevents and alleviates physician burnout.  Your patients will thank you!