Ten Percent of Doctors Surveyed Admit 'Burnout' Contributes to Medical Errors

July 11, 2018 - 2:38 pm

(KNX 1070) -- A new study finds that more than half of the doctors in the United States are burned out and those doctors are more inclined to make mistakes.

Nearly 7,000 doctors were surveyed for the study, asking about medical errors, workplace safety, and symptoms of burnout, fatigue, depression and suicidal thoughts.

More than 10 percent of those who responded said they had committed at least one significant medical mistake in the previous three months, and investigators linked the mistakes to burnout. 

Dr. Daniel Tawfik is the lead author of the study at Stanford’s School of Medicine, he says the study showed the most common mistakes the doctors made were errors in medical judgment, errors in diagnosing illness, and technical mistakes in procedures -- and it appears to be a two-way street. He adds he believes reducing doctors’ job demands and reducing documentation and other burdens could help reduce doctor burnout.  

A program to fight doctor burnout is getting nationwide praise.  And it's by a medical group based right here in southern California. 

Dr. Ed Ellison is the executive medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. He says his group of doctors spread the workload through what he calls "team-based care."

Ellison says another big part of the solution is for doctors to practice what they preach to their patients, and for busy doctors to eat properly, get plenty of rest and try and manage their stress level.