Sources of stress, burnout
There are other indications from the survey that the challenges of practicing medicine today outweigh the enjoyment for many urologists. Forty-one percent of respondents consider themselves burned out, and another 32% say they’re not currently burned out but are heading in that direction.
Given the publicity surrounding the hassle involved with electronic health records, it’s not surprising that EHR use was the number one factor leading to burnout, with 64% of urologists saying it “very much” contributes to their feeling burned out. (Also see, “EHR survey: Urologists’ usage, satisfaction revealed") Other big contributors to feelings of burnout were workload (54%), falling revenue and/or rising overhead (52%), prior authorizations (39%), and unappreciative patients/unreasonable patient expectations (35%).
In a fill-in option, urologists were not shy about listing other factors leading to burnout. “Hospital attitude toward urologists has totally reversed in last 10 yrs and they are antagonistic,” one respondent said. Another cited the “Google educated patient,” and another noted that “young people don’t work.”
Burnout is severe enough that it figures into many urologists’ decision about retirement. Provided multiple possible factors influencing their decision on when they plan to retire, burnout was the number one response at 64%. This was followed by government influence in medicine (57%), loss of interest/enjoyment (55%), declining reimbursement (51%), workload (42%), not wanting to take the recertification exam, and personal health/ability (both 31%).
Urologists’ leading concerns tended to match their sources of burnout and drivers of retirement. Asked to rank their concern about 17 issues on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 representing “very concerned,” 93% of survey respondents rated increasing government regulations a 4 or 5. Additional popular answers were declining reimbursement (89%), prior authorization requirements (83%), pressure to keep up with patient load (81%), increasing overhead/overhead management (81%), and quality metrics/reporting requirements (80%).