ways to avoid physician burnout

Incorporate mindfulness and teamwork for trainees and practicing clinicians. Mindfulness, a known stress reducer, is a means for internally accommodating to external stressors. Teamwork, such as in the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), is critically important for burnout prevention through support and sharing of clinician workload. Tools being developed to measure the clinician experience with the PCMH can assure the model works for current and future physicians. Leaders should assure protected time for reflection, planning and relationship building and provide communication coaching for challenging situations.

Decrease stress from electronic health records (EHR). There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of computer work required by primary care physicians. Strategies to address this include changing visit length to accommodate the extra work that computerized data brings, or adding “desktop” slots to daily schedules. Additional stresses have arisen from patient portals which increase after-hours communication. We propose measuring workloads, both direct (with patients) and indirect, as well as stress due to the EHR. These results should be part of an organization’s “dashboard” of clinical outcomes.