Is Burnout in Family Physicians Associated with Certain Practice Organizations?

Submitted on Tue, 11/12/2019 - 13:38

Research has shown high burnout rates among physicians, with consequences of quality of care delivered and the physician's own health. Linkages between organizational factors and physician burnout have been reported, but few have looked at correlations related specifically with practice type and ownership status. New research from the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) analyzed a possible association between burnout among family physicians and practice organization, ownership, and environmental characteristics of the practices in which they work. While the data showed a burnout rate of 43.7% among those surveyed, the researchers did not find any single practice type or ownership status that was independently associated with burnout.

The two largest groups among those surveyed work in private practices and hospital-owned practices. Two-thirds did not have any ownership in their practice. Self-employed physicians reported higher rates of good control over their workload and sufficient time for documentation, as well as lower rates of high stress, chaos, and excessive time spent on electronic health records at home.

While over half of all respondents reported high stress, a majority also reported a satisfactory number of hours worked, good control over their workload, and efficient teamwork. Federal and hospital-owned practices had a higher prevalence of burnout overall, but this became non-significant when controlling for personal and practice environment variables.

Burnout risk factors in all practice types include increased physician stress with poor control over workload, conflicting values with leadership and arduous documentation burdens.

Researchers said, "Our findings suggest that burnout can occur in any practice type, and no specific organizational structure dooms physicians to burnout. This also suggests a common path forward that all practices can make changes and reduce burnout."

Full article: Associations Between Burnout and Practice Organization in Family Physicians

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