Feb. 8, 2023
New data show that U.S. physicians reported significantly more work-related stress and burnout in late 2022 than just a year before. Thirty percent of U.S. physicians in late 2022 said they feel burned out, up from 23 percent the year before, according to a press release issued by Apollo Intelligence, LLC.
Fifty-five percent of doctors said they know at least one colleague who is leaving or has left clinical care, up from 41 percent in 2021—and nearly 30 percent said they have considered leaving their clinical care profession in the last six months, up significantly from 20 percent in 2021.
At the same time, physician confidence in public health plummeted. Just 6 percent of U.S. doctors said they feel optimistic about the state of public health in the U.S., down from 17 percent in 2021.
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Data are from a new report from InCrowd, a leading provider of real-time global data and insights to the healthcare and life science industries and an Apollo Intelligence (Apollo) brand. Since 2016, InCrowd has tracked numerous metrics related to physician burnout from around the world by sourcing insights of validated physicians from the company’s proprietary global panel, responding through its real-time, mobile-integrated survey platform.
“It’s alarming to learn how few physicians feel empowered and optimistic about clinical care. During such times—with widespread illness and staffing shortages—it’s so important to retain critical capacity,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of Apollo. “The data show that doctors are faring much worse than a year ago, both personally and professionally. We hope that by sharing the voice of clinicians, healthcare leaders use this call to action to consider remedies for burnout and support our healthcare professionals (HCPs), who are the foundation of our public health system.”
In the InCrowd US Physician Feelings on Burnout 2022 Report, sourced between November 18 and December 7, 2022, respondents paint a sobering picture of their attitudes toward their professions:
- Seventy percent said they feel frustrated by the pressure on HCPs in today’s world—up from 47 percent in 2021—while just 30 percent said they find their profession rewarding, down from 45 percent in 2021
- One-in-four said they feel appreciated for their work, down from 39 percent in 2021
- Just 16 percent would encourage their child or family members to pursue their career, down from 30 percent in 2021
A third of physicians (32 percent) said their mental health has suffered over the past 18 months, up slightly from 30 percent in 2021. Many doctors suggested similar strategies to those offered in previous reports on how facilities can address burnout. These include increased support staff for nurses, medical assistants, and admins, reduced patient volumes and mandatory vacation time or half days.
Only 10 percent of respondents felt their medical facility effectively addresses staff member burnout, and 16 percent said their medical specialty helps. Verbatim remarks were pointed: “I think the whole system needs to be overhauled,” said a cardiologist from Georgia.
Stressors include inadequate staffing and non-clinical care demands. “[My] organization claims to prioritize wellbeing; however, it does not take actions to streamline administrative demands on time, does not arrange for appropriate staffing to prevent working overtime to cover clinical duties, and has been ineffective in staff retention which leads to further dissatisfaction,” said a surgeon from Connecticut.
In unaided responses, doctors said they cope with work-related stress by exercising, spending time with family and friends and meditation – responses that are consistent across both 2022 and 2021.
The InCrowd US Physician Feelings on Burnout 2022 Report includes data from n=500 physicians of various specialties who responded to a two-minute MicroSurvey between November 18 and December 7, 2022. The report is available here. InCrowd’s 2021 data includes n= 841 respondents who answered a one-minute MicroSurvey between November 22 and December 22, 2021. Also referenced, the 2019 report includes data from n=613 respondents who answered a five-minute MicroSurvey between June 7-8, 2019. For more information visit InCrowd’s resource page.