(HealthDay News) — Burnout in physicians is associated with a decrease in job satisfaction and increases in patient safety events and patient dissatisfaction, according to a review published online Sept. 14 in The BMJ.

Alexander Hodkinson, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the associations between physician burnout and both career engagement and the quality of patient care. The meta-analysis included 170 observational studies with 239,246 physicians.

The researchers found that overall physician burnout was associated with an almost 4-fold decrease in job satisfaction (odds ratio, 3.79). Career choice regret increased by more than 3-fold in the presence of increased burnout (odds ratio, 3.49). Turnover intention also increased by more than 3-fold (odds ratio, 3.10). A small but significant association was seen between burnout and productivity (odds ratio, 1.82).

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Patient safety incidents were doubled with physician burnout (odds ratio, 2.04). Low professionalism was more than twice as likely as burnout increased (odds ratio, 2.33), and the same was true for patient dissatisfaction (odds ratio, 2.22).

“Moving forward, investment strategies to monitor and improve physician burnout are needed as a means of retaining the health care workforce and improving the quality of patient care,” the authors write.

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