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Geneia Survey: From boomers to millennials, physicians still burned out, share ideas on effective workplace programs

October 16, 2019
Even entry-level, hourly workers get bathroom breaks and a 30-minute lunch.

Harrisburg, PA – “When all of the scheduled patients show up it makes work unbearable. Taking a break to use the bathroom or eat is then a luxury!” – A surveyed physician’s open-ended response to the question, What other issues areas are important to consider when employers of physicians are prioritizing workplace programs to address physician burnout and stress?

Geneia, a healthcare analytic solutions and services company that is simplifying the evolution to value-based care, today released the results of a national physician survey commissioned to identify solutions to epidemic levels of physician burnout and dissatisfaction. The survey showed physicians are still burned out, and in part, long to be treated like the valued employees they are. 

Strong signs of physician burnout in today’s healthcare environment mirror the findings from Geneia’s initial survey in 2015 and a follow-up survey in 2018, which found that the Physician Misery Index had increased to 3.94 out of 5:

  • Eight in 10 (84 percent) say the quality time doctors are able to spend with patients has decreased in the last 10 years.
  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) know a physician who is likely to stop practicing medicine in the next five years due to burnout.
  • Nearly 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.
  • An overwhelming majority (83 percent) say they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career.

“Undoubtedly, EHRs remain a lightning rod for physicians, and the health IT industry needs to step up its commitment to improving the usability of technology,” said Heather Lavoie, Geneia president. “At the same time, the Geneia survey revealed that much of physician dissatisfaction is due to remediable, workforce issues like work-life balance, healthy and accessible food options, and time to take breaks and vacations. In other words, physicians are seeking adequate time to provide quality care to their patients.”

Ninety-seven percent of physicians agree with the following statements:

“Physician burnout and dissatisfaction are deeply connected to the data collection and other non-clinical demands that are placed on physicians. To address burnout employers of physicians need to put much greater emphasis on increasing the current allocation of time per patient that physicians spend with patients.”

“Curbing physician burnout is an absolutely critical and necessary component for employers to address. If employers of physicians do not do something quickly to sustain and keep physicians satisfied, we won’t have the quality workforce we need.”

When asked about prioritizing workplace programs to address physician burnout and stress, nearly all physicians (97 percent) said it is important to focus on work-life balance programs followed by a focus on reducing physician hours (82 percent), availability of mental and physical wellness resources (76 percent), building team unity (70 percent), and professional and leadership development (66 percent.)

Infographic showing importance of different factors in addressing physician burnout

The survey results also demonstrated the need to address physicians’ personal wellness. When asked to rate the value of different ways to offer personal wellness opportunities in the workplace, healthy and accessible food options (82 percent value; 44 percent strongly value), comfort-designed lounge areas (70 percent value; 33 percent strongly value) and yoga and fitness classes (63 percent value; 30 percent strongly value) were ranked high by surveyed physicians.

Geneia commissioned a nationwide survey among physicians who are practicing medicine and are employed by corporate- or hospital-owned entities. Interviewing of 401 physicians was conducted online in August 2019. The results have a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

Geneia LLC is a healthcare analytics and services company. We work to improve collaboration between healthcare providers, health plans and employers to better support personalized, patient-centered care. Through advanced technology, education and training, insights and clinical services, we help clients better identify and actively manage high-risk populations, improve quality measurement and outcomes, and strengthen revenue. Rooted in deep clinical experience and leading-edge data science, our client-centric, phased approach to population health simplifies the transition to risk and value-based care. Our offices are located in Harrisburg, PA and Manchester, NH. To learn more, visit Geneia.com (https://www.geneia.com) or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.