Findings from the American College of Cardiology's Professional Life Survey show that approximately 27% of American cardiologists are burned out, and 49.5% are under stress. The survey is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
2313 cardiologists and fellows in training were included in the survey. As per the findings of the survey, cardiologists who are in the middle of their career (with 8 to 21 years in practice) have higher rates of burnout compared to late-career cardiologists, early-career cardiologists, and fellows in training.
The use of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) has been highlighted as one of the biggest contributors to physician burnout. Data indicates that physicians spend more time doing administrative tasks related to EMRs as opposed to spending that time with patients. EMR related work is in addition to other computer work that physicians also need to do every day (work that they usually get to at the end of the day). Survey respondents have pretty much indicated the same reasons with approximately 72% of cardiologists highlighting pressures related to documentation time as one of the factors for their burnout and 57% report increased use of EMR at home.
Cardiologists that reported burnout were also more likely to feel less satisfied with the achievement of their professional goals, their level of advancement, and their financial compensation. In addition, those with a high level of burnout were also less likely to recommend cardiology as a career compared to those who did not have burnout.
Additional factors that were also found to be independently associated with higher burnout among cardiologists include:
- Lack of control over workload
- Stressful and hectic work environment
- Lack of balance between work and family
- Time constraints to complete documentation work
- Misalignment of values
- Issues related to support staff
These findings indicate the need to address burnout and to outline strategies that could help cardiologist better deal with the excessive workload and time constraints. Not only does the system need to improve, but physicians also need to prioritise their time and self-evaluate as to how they can achieve a balance between their professional and personal lives and how they can make their professional life less stressful and more efficient.