Although reports of physician burnout multiplied during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has always been a problem in health care. According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated existing problems in the health care delivery system and took a toll on the U.S. physician workforce. This added strain impacted the quality of care, resulting in turnover and reductions in work effort. The Association of American Medical Colleges also estimates that the U.S. could see a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2023 which is expected to plague both primary and specialty fields.
Physician burnout remains a critical issue across all aspects of health care because it affects the quality of care, cost efficiency and accessibility to care. Burnout among providers can lead to poor interactions with patients and patient dissatisfaction, while also contributing to impaired attention, memory and executive function.