Earnestly discussed by researchers in the Information Age, physician burnout has plagued the healthcare industry due to swelling numbers of patients and dwindling numbers of doctors. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine has new information on this phenomenon relating to small practices.
The study was conducted with 235 respondent doctors from 174 small, independent practices in New York city. This is based on the premise that much of physician burnout is located in large hospital settings. Over the years, physicians have been migrating from hospitals to small practices for varied but it is only now realized that this exodus may be the healthier alternative when it comes to burnout.
The study found that only 13.5% of physicians in small practices in New York reported burnout. Compared with the national average of 54.4% across the board, new numbers indicate there is still hope for addressing the problem.
Dr. Shelley, the lead researcher and a professor of Population Health and medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, believes that this is due to the feelings of independence and autonomy that comes with small practices. Most work settings in larger companies do not take into consideration the environment which may be hampering doctors’ welfare to the point of toxicity, leading to burnout, depression, or even both.
It is their hope that the study reaches upper management in such companies so that they can address the trend of physician burnout before numbers get too critical. Although, the smaller practitioners may too find themselves burnt out as they do most of the work themselves. This is estimated to consume up to half their day. Perhaps a Virtual Medical Assistant can help to address these.
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