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LEFO - Legeforskningsinstituttet

Institute for Studies of the Medical Profession

IPOQ 2013: Research on health and working conditions of the medical profession

Christina Maar Andersen

Burnout in Danish General Practice - development, risk and prognosis
7. november 2013


Christina Maar Andersen
is a psychologist and a PhD-student at the Research Unit for General Practice in Aarhus University, Denmark.

Abstract:
Burnout in Danish General Practice – development, risk and prognosis
Collaborators Anette Fischer Pedersen, Frede Olesen and Peter Vedsted, Denmark

BACKGROUND: Burnout is an increasing problem among physicians which can have serious consequences for both the physicians and their patients. Burnout among physicians is associated with increased risk of depression, suicidal ideation and substance abuse. Burnout among physicians may also have implications for the health of their patients. Studies have shown that burned-out physicians feel they deliver lower quality of patient care including failing to discuss treatment options and answering patient questions, having reduced attentiveness or caring behavior towards their patients, and reporting more medical errors than physicians who are not burned-out. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the current status of burnout among GPs and to identify risk factors associated with development of burnout. METHODS: All GPs in the county of Aarhus in Denmark (N=458) were invited to participate in a survey on burnout in 2004. This survey was followed up in 2012 and included all GPs in the Central Denmark Region (N=835). The survey consisted of questions on burnout, GP characteristics and work-related factors. Burnout was assessed by the Maslach Burnout Inventory and was categorized as moderate or severe burnout. RESULTS: Although no difference in moderate burnout was found between 2004 and 2012 an 89% increase in severe burnout was detected rising from 2.8% (1.3-5.1%) in 2004 to 5.3% (3.1-8.1%) in 2012. The risk of developing burnout was analyzed from data on GPs who had participated in both the 2004 and 2012 surveys (N=216) and was found to be 13.2% (8.2-19.6%). Among GPs with moderate or severe burnout in 2004, 26.1% had withdrawn from general practice during follow-up compared to 31.0% of GPs who were not burned-out in 2004 (adj. OR = 0.97; 95%CI: 0.48-1.96; p = 0.935). GPs who were not burned-out in 2004 but reported that general practice would not be their choice of medical specialty again had a statistically significant increased risk of burnout in 2012 (OR=4.5; 95% CI: 1.2-16.5; p=0.023) compared to GPs who would choose general practice as specialty again. CONCLUSIONS: There has been an increase in severe burnout from 2004 to 2012 among GPs. Over the seven year period the incidence of burnout was 13%. Burned-out GPs appeared not to have higher job turnover rates than GPs who were not burned-out. Thoughts about changing medical specialty were strongly and prospectively associated with risk of burnout which might be used as an important predictor of future burnout.

Look at Christina Maar Andersen´s presentation in the attached file (pdf).
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