We all know the term burnout. We hear this regularly in the media —  people are exhausted, unable to cope, overworked, and simply tired.

The phrase was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger and was associated with severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions.

While burnout is common in many industries, physician burnout is often underreported and is not often covered in medial training or during residency.

According to Eva Schernhammer, M.D., Dr.P.H in her paper, Taking Their Own Lives — The High Rate of Physician Suicide, suicide rates for both men and women are higher in physicians than the general population and widely underreported.

The Kansas City Medical Society takes physician burnout seriously. From learning about the latest in Electronic Health Records (EHR) and polling our members on ways their organizations are dealing with stress – we are making Physician Burnout one of our 2019 priorities.

A paper published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA) has deemed the condition a public health crisis.

We asked some of our leadership to read and comment on the paper (download and read the full report here) and they all agree that physician burnout is something that is preventable and actionable.  Our leaders are working towards solutions to treat and prevent physician burnout. Read what some of our leaders had to say below.

Our members are creating safe spaces to speak to peer and mentors, creating systems to identify burnout with Physician Wellness Committees and training on the most efficient use of EHR’s so doctors can spend quality time with patients. We are committed to actions that promote face-to-face interaction with patients – and enhancing the overall quality of care.

For more on the Kansas City Medical Society 2019 Strategic Priorities – see our graphic below.