Burned-out doctors may be more prone to racial bias

Concerns about burnout among doctors are growing as new research is beginning to quantify the dangers and costs of the problem.

In the past few years, researchers have found that 54 percent of doctors report feeling burned out. Doctors experiencing burnout are twice as likely to log major medical errors. The suicide rate among physicians is twice that of the general population and one of the highest among all professions.

A study published Friday shows that as medical residents’ symptoms of burnout increase, they become more prone to racial bias.

“It’s becoming clearer with each study just how big of a problem this is,” said Liselotte Dyrbye, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, who wrote Friday’s study on racial bias and several other studies on the problem.

Doctors are especially prone to burnout, experts say, because of the workload, pressure and chaos under which they often operate. Doctors say their work has become increasingly burdened with bureaucratic work because of cumbersome electronic records and what they call “defensive documentation” to guard against malpractice lawsuits.

Go to top