Medscape Report on Physician Burnout and Bias

Medscape recently published the results of its annual physician lifestyle report, consisting of responses from more than 15,800 physicians in 25 specialties. According to the respondents, psychiatrists are not reporting burnout, but are reporting biases. Here are some of the interesting results:

*The most burned out specialty was critical care (55%), and the least burned out specialty was psychiatry (40%)

*In terms of burnout severity, on a scale of 1 (least severe) to 7 (most severe), critical care topped the list at 4.74 and psychiatry was at the bottom with 3.85

*The top three causes of burnout were reported to be: 1) too many bureaucratic tasks, 2) spending too many hours at work, and 3) increasing computerization of practice

*The happiest specialties at work were reported to be: 1) dermatology (39%), 2) ophthalmology (38%), and 3) psychiatry (37%)

*The happiest specialty outside of work was reported to be dermatology at 66%; ophthalmology and psychiatry tied for second at 63%

*The least happy specialty was internal medicine – only 24% reported being happy at work and 53% happy outside of work

*When asked if they had specific biases toward specific types of patients, the highest responding specialty was emergency medicine at 62%; the specialty responding with the least amount of bias towards patients was – not surprisingly – pathology

*Psychiatry ranked third in terms of bias toward patients at 48%

*Physicians in the Northwest reported the most bias at 49%; the East Coast reported the least bias – the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Southeast all reported 37%


Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD – Vice President As Vice President of Risk Management, Ms. Vanderpool is responsible for the development and implementation of PRMS’s risk management services for The Psychiatrists’ Program. Ms. Vanderpool has developed expertise in the areas of HIPAA and forensic practice, and has consulted, written and spoken nationally on these and other healthcare law and risk management topics. She most recently contributed to a chapter in Gun Violence and Mental Illness (APPI), authored chapters on telepsychiatry in Mental Health Practice in a Digital World (Springer) andPsychoanalysis Online 2(Karnac). She also has co-edited and contributed chapters to several other clinical textbooks. Prior to joining PRMS in 2000, Ms. Vanderpool practiced criminal defense law, taught business and legal courses, and spent eight years managing a general surgical practice. Ms. Vanderpool received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from James Madison University. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree and Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University.Follow Donna on LinkedIn.

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