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New Survey: Communication, not COVID, Key to Solving Burnout

Oct 27, 2021, 16:45 PM by MSDC Staff
A new survey for MGMA reveals physicians and administrators vary widely on what they see as the causes of physician burnout.


The moral injury caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably dented the wellbeing of the physician workforce. A new survey, however, indicates ongoing physician burnout may be related to issues that systems, hospitals, and practices may be better able to control.

The survey conducted by Jackson Physician Search and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) in June and July 2021 showed a disconnect between physicians and administrators on the current burnout situation in medicine. The results come from a new whitepaper published by the two entities entitled Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover in Medical Practices. The whitepaper was released today at the MGMA Medical Practice Excellence Leaders Conference.

Some of the more interesting statistics include:

  • Physicians gave current satisfaction with their current employer a 5.5 on average on a 1-10 scale
  • While administrators (68%) and physicians (61%) confirmed physicians are experiencing burnout, there was a massive disconnect in blaming the employer for the burnout between physicians (62%) and administrators (14%)
  • COVID is still a burnout cause to 25% of physicians surveyed, but 37% of administrators listed it as the cause of burnout
  • Burnout leads to physicians leaving, and there is again a disconnect on how physicians and administrators view their preparation for departures. Administrators rated their physician recruitment strategy a 7.0 on a 1-10 scale, while physicians rated the strategy a 4.8 on average
  • 43% of physicians surveyed said they were considering an early retirement

"Successful business decisions begin by recognizing threats and opportunities, and the pandemic exposed many for healthcare organizations, so we've seen a rapid and sustained increase in the number of physicians actively looking for new jobs," said Tony Stajduhar, president of Jackson Physician Search, in a press release. "But what we're learning is that post-COVID business recovery actually requires making the experience of being a doctor better for physicians. Recognizing the all-consuming nature of practicing medicine and considering physicians as partners versus employees are where it starts."