Summary:

When family doctors felt they were able to address the unmet social needs of their patients, they were less likely to report physician burnout, according to a study in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Article:

Committed to making physician burnout a thing of the past, the AMA has studied, and is currently addressing issues causing and fueling physician burnout—including time constraints, technology and regulations—to better understand and reduce the challenges physicians face. By focusing on factors causing burnout at the system-level, the AMA assesses an organization’s well-being and offers guidance and targeted solutions to support physician well-being and satisfaction. 

The study, “Physician Burnout and Higher Clinic Capacity to Address Patients' Social Needs,” looked at a cross-sectional analysis of 1,298 family physicians in ambulatory primary care settings. Researchers tested associations among physician and clinic characteristics, perceived clinic social needs capacity, and burnout.

Primary care physicians responded to a self-reported burnout survey. The validated, single-item question asked doctors to rate their level of burnout on a scale of one, “I enjoy my work. I have no symptoms of burnout,” to five, “I feel completely burned out. I am at the point where I may need to seek help.”

“Efforts to reduce primary care physician burnout may be furthered by addressing structural issues, such as improving capacity to respond to patients’ social needs in addition to targeting other modifiable burnout risks,” the authors wrote.

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