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Is physician burnout to blame for medical errors?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2018 | Surgical Errors

Preventing medical malpractice is a priority for many people. As a result, multiple studies have taken aim at understanding the root cause of medical errors. Delaware health care professionals and patients alike may find the results of a new study particularly interesting, as it shows how physician burnout may be contributing to these problems.

Medical errors are a serious problem across the United States. Anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 deaths are attributed to such errors each year. While a lot of research has been done on the environmental factors behind these issues, there have been limited studies on how physician burnout may contribute.

A recent Stanford University study aimed to change that, collecting surveys from 6.695 physicians across the United States. Of this sample, 55 percent reported symptoms of burnout. The researchers found that those with these symptoms were twice as likely to have a self-reported medical error. Low safety grades in work units also made errors three to four times more likely. Combined, these may be leading factors behind medical errors.

Physician burnout has become an issue across the country, and multiple studies show that approximately half of all doctors have symptoms that include exhaustion, cynicism and feelings of ineffectiveness. Other studies have found that this may be behind issues such as quality of care, patient satisfaction and turnover rates. Researchers were unsurprised to learn that medical errors may also be a side effect of physician burnout. Those who are victims of medical errors in Delaware should speak with a lawyer to find out if they have grounds to pursue legal action.