Getting the Bigger Picture of Radiologist Burnout, Part 2

Does physician care go hand-in-hand with patient care? In October, we addressed how physician burnout can have adverse effects on patient care. Burnout of radiologists has always been looked at as a whole, but Dr. Felix Chew of the University of Washington conducted a study with his colleagues on one specific radiologist subgroup.

Study Groups

They conducted the study on musculoskeletal radiologists. By conducting this study they were able to find that the rate of burnout is greater e experiencing burnout.Radiologist burnout affects patient care.

In the article Radiologist burnout: Worse than we thought?, the author discusses Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI).

MBI defines burnout as a job-related psychological syndrome. The article goes to explain that these psychological effects are broken into three categories: Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment.

The Results

Using MBI as a resource Dr. Chew and his team invited 1,190 members of the Society of Skeletal Radiology to take an anonymous survey. Four hundred and thirty three participated (79.2 percent male, 20.8 percent female). Eighty percent of those participated in the survey experienced at least one of the three aspects of burnout, 52 percent reporting signs in two, 22 percent in all three.

There were no distinct differences in the results between men and women. What was surprising was that burnout was discovered to be worse in those in a private practice than those in an academic practice. 86.2 percent of musculoskeletal radiologists reported signs of burnout in a private practice.

The findings have Dr. Chew believing the presence of students and trainees who help support the workload in academic practices, and from my point of view more interaction with people period.

Positive findings from this report also was that burnout seems to lessen over time. Looks like it takes some time to break in the “sea legs”!

How to Combat Radiologist Burnout

Radiologist burnout can affect patient care.With seeing how radiologist burnout could change drastically from subgroup to subgroup, it would be interesting to do more surveys for multiple subgroups, as well as for facilities to perform a “Risk Management” of sorts. How can you improve your work environment to help improve the radiologists mental and emotional state?Encourage social interaction

  • Reading room exercise equipment
  • Standing desks
  • Encourage periodic 10 minute breaks

Patient care is key, but you can’t have successful patient care without appropriate physician care. As someone who has seen the results of a false radiology report, I can say with confidence that we must be proactive!


This article was written by Allie Robinson, a business policy analyst with Novarad.

Posted in Blog

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