Dr. Harris on the impact of burnout among urologists


"When we think about what burnout does to our workforce, the ramifications are significant," says Andrew M. Harris, MD.

In this video, Andrew M. Harris, MD, discusses the implications of high rates of burnout among urologists, which were observed in his study, “Burnout: A call to action from the AUA Workforce Workgroup.” Harris is a urologist at the Lexington VA Medical Center and an assistant professor of urology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.

Video Transcript:

When we think about what burnout does to our workforce, it's important to consider what it does to us as individuals and also what happens to our patients. When we think about what burnout does to our workforce, the ramifications are significant. Those who are experiencing burnout are much more likely to have substance abuse, or substance dependence, drugs or alcohol, are more likely to have depression. You're much more likely to have suicidal thoughts or even [die by] suicide.

We don't need our workforce to be feeling those kinds of issues or struggling with those kinds of conditions. That is absolutely heartbreaking, from a workforce perspective. We also know that burnout, for those who are experiencing burnout, are more likely to have diabetes [and] also heart disease. That's also not good for our population. Being a physician is difficult enough without having those other conditions placed on top of burnout. So really concerning of what these conditions can do to us and what burnout can do to us as a workforce.

When you think about what happens to the patient, it also reflects the value we provide to the patient, because those physicians who are experiencing burnout, are also likely to have worse quality scores, more likely to provide poor quality care, more expensive care, they're also more likely to have adverse events or patient safety events that contribute to our patient. Nobody is winning in the situation where we have more burnout. It's very concerning about what's happening to us as providers, and also what may be happening to our patients as a result of our workforce being burnt out.

This transcription has been edited for clarity.

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