because of depersonalization of care, according to recent research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“The primary conclusion of this review is that physician burnout might jeopardize patient care,”, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research and the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre at the University of Manchester (United Kingdom) and her colleagues wrote in their study. “Physician wellness and quality of patient care are critical [as are] complementary dimensions of health care organization efficiency.”
Dr. Panagioti and her colleagues performed a search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycInfo databases and found 47 eligible studies on the topics of physician burnout and patient care, which altogether included data from a pooled cohort of 42,473 physicians. The physicians were median 38 years old, with 44.7% of studies looking at physicians in residency or early career (up to 5 years post residency) and 55.3% of studies examining experienced physicians. The meta-analysis also evaluated physicians in a hospital setting (63.8%), primary care (13.8%), and across various different health care settings (8.5%).
The researchers found physicians with burnout were significantly associated with higher rates of patient safety issues (odds ratio, 1.96; 95% confidence interval, 1.59-2.40), reduced patient satisfaction (OR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.42-3.68), and lower quality of care (OR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.87-2.85). System-reported instances of patient safety issues and low professionalism were not statistically significant, but the subgroup differences did reach statistical significance (Cohen Q, 8.14; P = .007). Among residents and physicians in their early career, there was a greater association between burnout and low professionalism (OR, 3.39; 95% CI, 2.38-4.40), compared with physicians in the middle or later in their career (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.46-2.01; Cohen Q, 7.27; P = .003).
“Investments in organizational strategies to jointly monitor and improve physician wellness and patient care outcomes are needed,” Dr. Panagioti and her colleagues wrote in the study. “Interventions aimed at improving the culture of health care organizations, as well as interventions focused on individual physicians but supported and funded by health care organizations, are beneficial.”
Researchers noted the study quality was low to moderate. Variation in outcomes across studies, heterogeneity among studies, potential selection bias by excluding gray literature, and the inability to establish causal links from findings because of the cross-sectional nature of the studies analyzed were potential limitations in the study, they reported.
The study was funded by the United Kingdom NIHR School for Primary Care Research and the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. The authors report no relevant conflicts of interest.
SOURCE: Panagioti M et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018 Sept 4. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3713.