Each year on April 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) marks World Health Day, with special focus on mental health, maternal and child care, and the impacts of climate change on patient populations. This year, we want to mark World Health Day by shining a spotlight on the mental health and wellbeing of our clinical workforce. 94% of health executives are focused on improving the clinician experience in 2021, according to one report—and for good reason. While COVID-19 certainly added to the emotional and physical burden placed on clinicians, nearly 80 percent of those who report burnout say those feelings started before the pandemic.
The wellbeing of our providers impacts not only their overall satisfaction and longevity, it directly impacts the quality of care they are able to deliver to patients. Beyond the ethical concerns, burnout carries significant financial risk for healthcare systems as well.
To demonstrate the true cost of provider burnout, we gathered 6 key statistics from various sources. What we found is staggering.
- According to a study conducted by The Physicians Foundation, 78% of physicians have experienced burnout.
- It can cost $1 million to replace a burnt out provider. This includes expenses for recruitment, bonuses, training, and lost billings.
- Physician turnover and the resulting reduced clinical hours add up to $4.6 billion nationwide.
- More than a quarter of burnt out clinicians say they are less motivated to take careful patient notes, and 15% say they make errors they might not ordinarily make.
- Physicians aren’t the only clinical providers who feel this pain. One-third of nurses and a quarter of physician assistants also suffer from burnout.
- The suicide rate for doctors is double that of the average American. Up to 400 doctors take their own lives each year. Given that the average doctor helps 2,300 patients over their career, the loss of those 400 lives means nearly a million patients lose their caregiver.
We often refer to clinicians as superheroes, especially over the past year. And they deserve it. But as we reflect on World Health Day, it’s important for us to remember that doctors, advanced practitioners, nurses, and other clinical staff are human. The emotional toll of providing care is wearing on their mental health. And that comes with very real costs.
Join us as we continue to shine a spotlight on the emotional and financial burden of provider burnout, along with solutions and best practices to improve clinician wellbeing over the coming months.