More than 90 percent of doctors in America report feeling burnt out on a regular basis, while 60 percent say they have considered leaving the profession entirely.

That’s according to a survey conducted by health company Athenahealth, which interviewed 1,000 doctors nationwide late last year, publishing their results today.

Many doctors said excessive paperwork and patient demands were leading to their burn out, and they needed to work an extra 15 hours per week on average just to stay on top of their workload.

Burn out has surged among doctors in recent years, linked to staffing shortages in healthcare. An estimated 250,000 jobs as doctors or nurses are currently unfilled in the US.

The above data is from an Athenahealth survey conducted late last year on doctors

The above data is from an Athenahealth survey conducted late last year on doctors

The report was commissioned by Athenahealth and is the latest in their Physician Sentiment Survey (PSS), which reveals feelings among staff.

Of the doctors, 750 were primary care physicians and 253 were specialists.

They were interviewed over 12 to 13 minutes over two weeks in late October and early November last year.

At this time, the US health system was beginning to struggle against a ‘triple-demic’ of Covid, flu and RSV for the second year in a row.

At the tripledemic’s peak, many children’s hospitals were reportedly overwhelmed with patients.

The survey also found that 60 percent of doctors believed they were not able to spend enough time with each patient.

And 75 percent said they felt overwhelmed by patient’s ‘excessive communication demands’ such as frequent texts, calls and emails outside of scheduled visits.

Dr Nele Jessel, chief medical officer at Athenahealth, said that technology could help to alleviate workload for doctors.

In particular, she pointed to AI — which she suggested could help them with responding to patient requests.

‘If we get this right,’ she said, ‘we’ll be using the technology to reduce administrative work and increase efficiencies in ways that allow physicians to refocus on their patients.’

The previous survey, which was carried out in January 2022, found that 49 percent of doctors who were interviewed said they were burnt out.

A total of 63 percent also said they were overwhelmed, while 68 percent said they did not have enough time to spend with patients.

It comes as experts warn of a crisis ‘of huge proportions’ hitting the country’s health service — with too few roles going filled.

There were about 193,000 job openings for nurses in the US over 2023, estimates suggest, and about 60,000 openings for doctors.

Many hospital systems were also rocked by staff strikes in recent months, amid disputes over pay and working conditions. 

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