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Outpatient Docs Report More Burnout Than Inpatient Docs

Outpatient docs report more emotional exhaustion; no differences in depersonalization

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Outpatient physicians report more emotional exhaustion than inpatient physicians, according to a review published in the November issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Daniel L. Roberts, M.D. from the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, and colleagues reviewed the literature to compare burnout among inpatient and outpatient physicians. Fifty-four studies were included, of which 15 provided direct comparisons of inpatient and outpatient physicians. The same burnout measures were used in 28 studies, enabling statistical analysis.

The researchers found that, compared with inpatient physicians, outpatient physicians reported more emotional exhaustion. There were no statistically significant differences observed in depersonalization or personal accomplishment. Heterogeneity of instruments used to measure burnout and lack of available information on practice location limited further comparisons.

"The existing literature does not support the widely held belief that burnout is more frequent in hospitalists than outpatient physicians," the authors write. "Better comparative studies of hospitalist burnout are needed."

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