Association between physician burnout and patient safety, professionalism, and patient satisfaction: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Physician burnout has long been considered a patient safety hazard. This meta-analysis of 47 studies of burnout and patient safety found that burnout is associated with increased risk of patient safety incidents, lapses in professionalism, and lower patient satisfaction. The magnitude of these effects varied among the studies included in the analysis, and the quality of the studies ranged from low to moderate rigor. Studies in which physicians self-reported patient safety concerns were more likely to show a link between burnout and safety. The authors raise the concern that conventional hazard detection methods may not capture incidents due to burnout. A related editorial by Dr. Mark Linzer calls for rigorous quality improvement studies to address the high prevalence of burnout among physicians.