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Mayo Clinic publishes plan to help prevent physician burnout


Photo: pcess609/iStockphoto

Rochester, MN – A team of researchers from Mayo Clinic recently presented nine strategies intended to help curb burnout among physicians.

The strategies are in response to a December 2015 study, conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers, that found 54 percent of the almost 36,000 U.S. physicians surveyed reported experiencing at least one symptom of burnout. For the individual physician, burnout can lead to broken relationships, alcoholism and suicide, the clinic states. Organizational impact can include decreased quality of care, lower productivity and malpractice suits.

The nine burnout prevention strategies are:

  • Acknowledging and assessing the problem
  • Recognizing leaders’ behaviors that can increase or decrease burnout
  • Using a systems approach to develop targeted interventions to improve efficiency and reduce clerical work
  • Cultivating community at work
  • Using rewards and incentives strategically
  • Assessing whether the organization’s actions align with its stated values and mission
  • Implementing organizational practices and policies that promote flexibility and work-life balance
  • Providing resources to help individuals promote self-care
  • Supporting organizational science by studying the factors in the institution that contribute to problems and investing in solutions

“The reasons we need to reverse this trend in physician burnout are compelling,” Mayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy said in a Nov. 18 press release. “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.”

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