Physician Burnout Is A Driver of Unnecessary Health Expenditures

Mar 01, 2022 at 11:34 am by bwsupport

Nearly one billion dollars in annual excess health care expenditure are due to turnover of primary care physicians, and work-related burnout is a significant driver of those costs, according to a new AMA-led study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The new analysis found that job turnover in the primary care physician workforce leads to an additional $979 million in annual excess health care costs across the U.S. population, with $260 million (27%) attributable to burnout. The cost analysis is based on a pre-pandemic annual turnover estimate of 11,339 primary care physicians. Out of the total annual estimate, burnout-related turnover was estimated to impact 3006 primary care physicians.

“Turnover of primary care physicians is costly to public and private payers, yet there is an opportunity to decrease unnecessary health care expenditures by reducing burnout-related turnover,” said Christine Sinsky, M.D., the study’s lead author and AMA vice president of professional satisfaction. “Physician burnout is preventable and payers, health care organizations, and others have a vested interest in making meaningful changes to reduce physician burnout.” 

Wide-spanning change in the health care delivery system needs to emphasize physician well-being as essential to achieving national health goals. The AMA’s ongoing work to reduce physician burnout is striving to attack the dysfunction in health care by removing the obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care. The AMA offers physicians and health systems a choice of cutting-edge tools, information and resources to help rekindle a joy in medicine.

Sections: Clinical