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Physicians at the Front Lines Increasingly Suffer from Burnout, According to New Reports

An article in the October 22 Chicago Tribune highlights a phenomenon physicians know all too well—burnout, a long-term reaction to stress that includes emotional exhaustion, a sense of depersonalization and a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment.  Particularly prevalent among primary care physicians, who then leave medicine, the burnout factor may worsen the current doctor shortage at the very point when many more are needed to care for aging Baby Boomers and new patients insured through the Affordable Care Act.

According to research compiled by a number of professional organizations, the problem results from challenges within the healthcare system that diminish autonomy, make it difficult to establish relationships with patients, require excessive documentation, a sense of isolation…all the factors that prompted our Special Docs physicians to make the change to concierge medicine.  While transitioning to the concierge model was not mentioned—and we believe should have been— other solutions cited in the article include work-life balance workshops and wellness programs for physicians and students at Stanford, and a teamwork approach to primary care at Harvard’s Center for Primary Care.

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