Physician burnout is common and has conseqeunces for the health of physicians and their patients, yet the temporal evolution and causal contributors to burnout are not well-understood. Here, we conducted a prospective study to measure the monthly evolution of burnout in intern physicians and its association with clinical workload and wrong-patient errors. Burnout was highly correlated with recent workload; interns who worked more hours and took care of more patients had more burnout. However, burnout was suprisingly elastic; interns on lighter rotations were able to recover. We think these findings have implications for intern scheduling.
Physician burnout is widespread, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has serious consequences for the health of physicians and their patients. Burnout needs to be measured before it can be improved, but the current ways to measure burnout involve physicians filling out surveys, a request that engenders little enthusiasm. We set out to develop a model that could identify burnout in physicians from passively collected EHR log data. However, we ran into several challenges; our experiences are described in this manuscript.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a transformation of clinical care practices to protect both patients and providers. These changes led to a decrease in patient volume, impacting physician trainee education due to lost clinical and didactic opportunities. We conducted a survey May 2020 to identify the prevalence of trainee concern over missed educational opportunities at our academic medical center and found that 47% of participants were at least somewhat concerned. Trainees assigned to education at home were more likely to be concerned as compared to their peers conducting research or clinical work. Surprisingly, of all the specialties, radiology and pathology trainees were most likely to be concerned in comparison to medical or surgical specialties. Trainees concerned about their missed educational opportunities were also more likely to be burned out.
Electronic health records (EHR) use is often considered a significant contributor to clinician burnout. Informatics researchers often measure clinical workload using EHR-derived audit logs and use it for quantifying the contribution of EHR use to …