The U.S. healthcare system is causing widespread burnout among doctors and nurses, resulting in increased risks to patients, high turnover rates, worker absenteeism, and malpractice claims, according to a 312-page report released earlier this week by the National Academy of Medicine.
"What this report is saying is that this is a systemic problem that requires systemic solutions," said Christine K. Cassel, a co-chair professor of medicine at University of California at San Francisco, a former president of the American Board of Internal Medicine who co-chaired the committee of experts that wrote the report. "You can't just teach doctors meditation, yoga and self-care. We need big, fundamental changes."
The report found nearly half of all clinicians reported "substantial" feelings of burnout, and symptoms included loss of enthusiasm, and joy in their work, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, exhaustion, high depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. Among residents and medical students, the number is higher at 60%.
Physician burnout can result in big monetary losses – a study published in June by the Annals of Medicine estimated burnout-associated costs the U.S. economy roughly $4.6 billion per year.
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