Medical practitioners (or physicians as they prefer to be called in the United States) with burnout reported medical errors at double the rate of other practitioners after adjusting for specialty, work hours, fatigue and work unit safety rating, according to findings recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
“A nuanced understanding of the potentially bidirectional connection between physician well-being and patient safety remains in its infancy,” Dr Daniel Tawfik, MD, of the department at paediatrics at Stanford University and colleagues wrote.
6,695 medical practitioners reviewed
Researchers reviewed survey responses from 6,695 actively practising medical practitioners, of whom 55% reported burnout symptoms, 33% reported excessive fatigue and 6.5% recently thought about suicide.
Eleven per cent of all physicians reported a “major medical error” and another 3.9% had a poor or failing patient safety grade in their primary work area during the previous three months.
In addition, multi-variable modelling showed perceived errors were independently more likely to be reported by physicians with burnout (OR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.8-2.8), fatigue (OR = 1.4; 95% CI 1.1-1.6), and in those who physicians who received ‘F’ grades for safety (OR = 4.4; 95 CI, 2.06-9.28). The most common errors were mistakes in judgment (39%), wrong diagnosis (20%), or technical mistake (13%). Fifty-five per cent of the errors did not affect patient outcome, but 5.3% led
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