A Mayo Clinic study to be released on Monday states that physicians in the USA are “burning out” at levels that are becoming close to unacceptable.
While doctors in the country should be getting ready to deal with millions more patients nation-wide due to changes in the health-care laws, some experts are saying that 45.8% of doctors on the front lines are already suffering due to heavy workloads.
Said physician Tait Shanafelt, lead author of the study: “The rates are higher than expected. We expected maybe 1 out of 3. Before health care reform takes hold, it’s a concern that those docs are already operating at the margins.”
Some doctors complain that seeing more patients without enough consult time will feel like “being on a hamster wheel”, said physician Jeff Cain, American Academy of Family Physicians president-elect. Although not involved with the study, he further stated: “We know when enough time is spent with patients that outcomes improve and costs are down.”
According to Shanafelt, “There have been other studies done on doctor burnout, but we assumed it was the surgical specialties who would be at primary risk. Instead we found out it’s the physicians on the front line of care who are at the greatest risk.”
Physician Mark Linzer, who noted in an earlier study that 26.5% of doctors complained of burnout, also gave his opinion to the media.
“Bottom line, said Linzer, “The Affordable Care Act is going to put more pressure on the front lines. This new study could be an important wake-up call the country needs to hear to build health care teams to meet the need.”