Burnout Tied to Twofold Higher Risk for Medical Errors [medscape.com]
Doctors who reported at least one major symptom of burnout were more than twice as likely to report a major medical error within the previous 3 months, according to a new study published online [mayoclinicproceedings.org] [DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.05.014] [DX [doi.org]] today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The study is based on a cross-sectional, observational survey, which precludes conclusions about causality or the association's directionality. But "it is conceptually likely that the two are reciprocal," write Daniel Tawfik, MD, MS, an instructor of pediatric critical care medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, and colleagues. [...] The medical errors question asked, "Are you concerned you have made any major medical errors in the last 3 months?" This wording, the authors explain, "is intended to identify recent events internalized as a major medical error; events identified in this way have been found to have a high correlation with actual medical errors."
[...] The findings are not only not surprising but actually gratifying to Michael Hicks, MD, executive vice president for clinical affairs at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, because they provide quantitative data to support long-time observations. "The problem we have with American healthcare, probably global healthcare, is frequently the system is designed for optimal circumstances. The environment makes the assumption that everything is going to occur correctly and that people are playing at the top of their game," Hicks told Medscape Medical News.