Journal Article

Association of pediatric resident physician depression and burnout with harmful medical errors on inpatient services.

Brunsberg KA, Landrigan CP, Garcia BM, et al. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 2019;94:1150-1156.

Physician burnout and depression are prevalent, costly, and likely to worsen the existing physician shortage. Physicians with depression and burnout also report committing more errors than their peers. Investigators prospectively examined whether pediatric residents reporting depression or burnout were involved in more errors. Participants experiencing depression committed three times as many harmful errors as those without depression. Residents with burnout did not commit more errors or more harmful errors. A strength of this study is that the errors were assessed objectively rather than by self-report. The direction of causality remains unclear—whether physicians with depression commit more harm or committing harm leads to depression. A past PSNet interview discussed how to promote physician satisfaction and well-being.