7 ways healthcare organizations can help restore the joy of medicine

Seven solutions to address physician burnout

November 19, 2019
There are ways besides improving the EHR to increase physician satisfaction.
President and CEO

Last month, we released part one of the results of a national physician survey commissioned to identify solutions to epidemic levels of physician burnout and dissatisfaction among employed doctors. Our online survey of 401 employed physicians showed physician burnout levels remain quite high. It also demonstrated physicians want to be treated like the valued employees they are.


84 percentEight in 10 (84 percent) say the quality time doctors are able to spend with patients has decreased in the last 10 years.
77 percentMore than three-quarters (77 percent) know a physician who is likely to quite practicing medicine in the next five years due to burnout.
74 percentNearly three-quarters of surveyed physicians (74 percent) say the challenges of practicing medicine in today's environment have caused them to consider career options outside of clinical practice.
83 percentAn overwhelming majority (83 percent) say they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career.


As I wrote last month, EHRs remain a lightning rod for physicians, and the health IT industry needs to step up its commitment to improving the usability of technology. At the same time, the Geneia survey revealed some insights that surprised me. To read more about the first part of our physician survey results, click here: Physician burnout: Even entry-level, hourly workers get bathroom breaks.

Seven ways employers of physicians can help restore the joy of medicine:

What I want to write about today is our summary take on the complete study. In short, the results led us to conclude there are seven solutions – in addition to improving the EHR – that healthcare organizations can use to help address physician burnout, including:

1.  Listen. Ensure physicians know they’ve been heard.

The employed physicians we surveyed said one good way to do this is to put more purpose, clarity and intention behind physician engagement surveys in the workplace. Offer concrete examples of ways the survey results have or will impact change.

2.  Offer professional development opportunities, not just EHR training.

Ninety percent of surveyed physicians said it’s important for employers to offer professional opportunities for physicians (43 percent very important.) Nearly as many physicians (86 percent) agree that

‘Offering a robust professional development program is a meaningful way for employers to show they care about the satisfaction and professional advancement of their team members.’

3.  Carefully consider ways to give physicians the option to have more time with patients who have complex healthcare needs.

While it’s true physicians, especially those who work in primary care, would like more time with all patients, the intensity of physician feeling is stronger for patients with complex healthcare needs. A near unanimous 97 percent of respondents say that it is important for employers of physicians to increase the current allocation of time per patient (64% very important – 33% somewhat important).

Americans are aging and are sicker. With half of American adults diagnosed with one chronic condition and more than 25 percent having two or more chronic conditions, chances are these patients need more time with their primary care physician than a 10-20 minute office visit to avoid preventable trips to the emergency department and hospital.

For complete survey results, and the rest of the seven solutions to address physician burnout, I invite you to download the comprehensive report.

Our complete report includes a deeper dive into the:

  • costs of physician burnout
  • trend toward physician employment
  • professional development interests of physicians.

Download the report