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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 1, 2019

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Physician Burnout in Small Practices is Dramatically Lower than National Average, New Study Concludes

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Findings offer insight into creating better work environments for physicians in larger practices and health systems

Physicians who work in small, independent primary care practices—also known as SIPs–report dramatically lower levels of burnout than the national average (13.5 percent versus 54.4 percent), according to a study led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine. The findings indicate that the independence and sense of autonomy that providers have in these small practices may provide some protection against symptoms of burnout.

Physician burnout is a major concern for the healthcare industry. It is associated with low job satisfaction, reduced productivity among physicians, and may negatively impact quality of care. Multiple national surveys suggest that more than half of all physicians report symptoms of burnout.

Research on physician burnout has focused primarily on hospital settings or large primary care practices. The researchers say that this is the first study that examines the prevalence of burnout among physicians in small independent primary practices—practices with five or fewer physicians.

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