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Current approaches to dealing with burnouts in doctors on an individual case-by-case basis are not effective. According to recent research at the Universities of Manchester and Southampton, the issue should instead be tackled with organisation-wide initiatives.

A meta-analysis study, which brought together the results of previously conducted research, was carried out to explore the effectiveness of interventions in reducing burnout in doctors. It explored the comparison between doctor-directed interventions that target the individual and organisation-directed interventions that target the working environment. The strength of the doctor’s experience and the particular healthcare setting they worked in was also assessed.

The research concluded that while doctor-focused tactics such as mindfulness and cognitive behavioural are important, the greatest success at preventing and reducing burnout in doctors can be achieved through the adoption of organisation-directed approaches such as improved working environment and organisational culture.

Burnout is a major problem in the healthcare industry and is often driven by excessive workload, imbalance between job demands and skills, a lack of job control and prolonged stress. It is a syndrome consisting of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment. Importantly, burnout can result in an increase in medical errors, reduced quality of patient care, and lower patient satisfaction.

Our findings clearly show that we need more effective intervention models to prevent burnout in doctors. Such models could be organization-directed interventions which promote healthy individual-organization relationships and view burnout a problem of the whole healthcare systems."
Dr Maria Panagioti, Research fellow in Primary Care at the University of Manchester

Read the full press release from the University of Manchester.

Publication: Controlled Interventions to Reduce Burnout in Physicians A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis