Physician Burnout Linked to Major Errors

(from the October 2018 ACP Hospitalist)

The findings suggest that burnout should be a consideration in efforts to reduce errors, according to a study author.

By Mollie Durkin

The dangers of physician burnout may include major medical errors, a recent study found.

In a survey of 6,586 actively practicing physicians, 54.3% reported symptoms of burnout, 32.8% reported excessive fatigue, and 6.5% reported recent suicidal ideation. About 4% reported having received a poor or failing patient safety grade in their primary work area, and 10.5% said they had made a major medical error in the prior three months.

Compared to physicians who did not report errors, those who did were significantly more likely to have symptoms of burnout (77.6% vs. 51.5%), fatigue (46.6% vs. 31.2%), and recent suicidal ideation (12.7% vs. 5.8%), according to results published online in July 2018 by Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Perceived errors were more common among physicians with poorer work unit safety grades, a measure of the patient safety practices of their primary work area.

ACP Hospitalist recently spoke about the findings with lead author Daniel Tawfik, MD, MS, an instructor of pediatric critical care medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.

Read the full article in ACP Hospitalist.

ACP Hospitalist provides news and information about hospital medicine, covering the latest trends and issues in the field.

Back to the January 2020 issue of ACP IMpact