Can we read yet another article on physician burnout? This is not a 21st century phenomenon. Complaints of burnout are reported in the literature for decades [see: Dissatisfaction with Medical Practice, Abigail Zuger, N Engl J Med Jan 1, 2004]. The current article Three Factors Could Explain Physician Burnout UC Riverside doctors share their thoughts on a growing medical crisis points to a new usual suspect: it’s the EMR affecting work-life balance. But on deeper reading of the original publication, Work–Life Balance, Burnout, and the Electronic Health Record, in the American Journal of Medicine, there are some interesting surfaced. One that strikes me as particularly relevant now is that “Continuity of care is no longer an expectation by the health plan member (patient).” Yes, the patient no longer expects continuity, meaning care from the same provider at each visit. Providers have locked themselves into this bizarre obsession with continuity by the same person as a measure of self-worth and clinical success. I have increasing evidence that this narrow definition of continuity is delaying important care and ruining provider businesses, and now according to this article, possibly impairing providers’ emotional well being.
- Sanders DiPiero