Most tend to agree that practical changes tied to the shift toward value-based reimbursement, such as the adoption of electronic health records and the new demands for quality and performance data, contribute to burnout. Adding to the pressure is the fact that under these changes, doctors must see more patients simply to maintain their income.
Physicians “are being pushed to higher levels of productivity,” said Dr. Darrell Kirch, CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “What we can do is be much, much more sensitive to the burdens that system changes place on physicians and take active measures to manage those burdens.”
Still, just under 36% of healthcare leaders said their organizations had adopted programs to address burnout. The rest said they had not or that such programs were under development.
The disconnect is striking: CEOs consider burnout a growing problem and are well aware of its causes, yet efforts to combat it are scattered and it's not yet clear that they work. Of the leaders who said they had programs to address burnout, 81% said their effectiveness remained to be seen.
Henry Ford Medical Group CEO Dr. William Conway, like Brainerd, said the best way to help physicians handle the growing and changing demands of their work is to foster resilience. “Our effort is to continue to build more capable staff members as opposed to focusing on the negative aspects of burnout.”