Workplace Factors Contribute to Burnout in Family Physicians

Diana Phillips | Medscape | May 10, 2017

Family physicians who work in a hectic or chaotic environment, those who report high rates of job-related stress, and those who spend time at home working on electronic medical record (EMR) tasks may be particularly vulnerable to burnout, researchers report. In a study designed to assess workplace factors associated with burnout among family physicians, Monee Rassolian, MD, from Michigan State University, Flint, and colleagues administered an abbreviated burnout survey to a random sample of family physicians applying to take the 2016 American Board of Family Medicine Certification Examination. They report their findings online May 8 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Twenty-five percent of the final survey sample of 1752 physicians reported symptoms of burnout on the basis of the 10‑item Zero Burnout Program survey, also referred to as the Mini Z survey, developed from the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The Mini Z survey enables the assessment of burnout with a single item that correlates with the emotional exhaustion subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory.

Although substantially lower than physician burnout estimates in studies using the Maslach Burnout Survey, the burnout prevalence in this study is similar to that observed among academic general internal medicine physicians using the Mini Z survey, the authors note.  Of those with burnout (n = 441), 57.1% reported working in a hectic, chaotic atmosphere compared with 26.5% of those without burnout, 91.4% reported feeling a great deal of job stress compared with 38.4% of the physicians without burnout, and 62.1% spent excessive time on EMR tasks at home compared with 38.7% physicians without burnout, the authors write...