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Recent Medscape Survey Shows Slight Improvement In Physician Burnout 

01 Feb, 2024 F.J. Thomas

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Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – The level of burnout among healthcare workers, especially physicians, has been a hot topic the last several years. Reports from last year indicated a 30 to 40 percent burnout rate among Orthopedic providers, with a rate greater than 50 percent for residents.

According to the most recent Medscape survey on provider burnout, physicians may be on the path to better mental health in 2024. In the 2023 Physician Depression & Burnout report, 53 percent of physicians reported being burned out, and 23 percent stated they were depressed, up from 15 percent 5 years ago. 

In the 2024 report, the reported rates of burnout have dropped to 49 percent. The number of physicians reporting depression has also dropped to 20 percent. While the decrease isn’t incredibly large, it is at least a step in the right direction. 

A shift in the top specialties with burnout was seen as well. In 2023, Emergency Medicine ranked the top specialty with reported rates of burnout at 65 percent. In 2024, the percentage of Emergency Medicine physicians reporting burnout has dropped to 63 percent. 

In 2023, Internal Medicine ranked second at a 60 percent burnout rate. The specialty has a seen a significant improvement in reported burnout levels, dropping to tenth at 50 percent in 2024. Last year, OBY/GYN providers ranked fourth at 58 percent, and although the specialty as raised to second highest reported burnout rates, the percentage has dropped to 53 percent. 

Oncology did see a slight increase in burnout rates, going from twelfth at 52 percent in the 2023 report, to third at 53 percent in the 2024 report. Orthopedic surgeons reported a 45 percent burnout rate last year, compared to a minimal drop to 44 percent for this year. 

In an ironic twist, female physicians are reporting a greater improvement in burnout than their male peers. Last year, 63 percent of female physicians and 46 percent of male physicians reported being burned out. In this year’s report, the number of burned female physicians has dropped to 56 percent, and the rate of burnout reported by male physicians only decreased to 44 percent.   

While the statistics show improvement in symptoms of burnout and depression, the job itself is still a major contributor to mental health issues. Both male and female physicians attributed their burnout and depression symptoms to their jobs at the same rates. Thirty percent reported that their entire job contributed to their mental health issues, and 53 percent reported that most of the job contributed. 

While mental health may be improving, the top contributor to workplace stress has increased as a factor. In 2023, 61 percent reported too many bureaucratic tasks as the top contributor to their burnout. In 2024, the percentage increased to 62 percent, potentially indicating providers still feel as though these tasks impede patient care.         


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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