Objectives: Our objective was to estimate the incidence of recent burnout in a large sample of Taiwanese physicians and analyze associations with job related satisfaction and medical malpractice experience.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey. Physicians were asked to fill out a questionnaire that included demographic information, practice characteristics, burnout, medical malpractice experience, job satisfaction, and medical error experience. There are about 2% of total physicians. Physicians who were members of the Taiwan Society of Emergency Medicine, Taiwan Surgical Association, Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Taiwan Pediatric Association, and Taiwan Stroke Association, and physicians of two medical centers, three metropolitan hospitals, and two local community hospitals were recruited.
Results: There is high incidence of burnout among Taiwan physicians. In our research, Visiting staff (VS) and residents were more likely to have higher level of burnout of the emotional exhaustion (EE) and depersonalization (DP), and personal accomplishment (PA). There was no difference in burnout types in gender. Married had higher-level burnout in EE. Physicians who were 20~30 years old had higher burnout levels in EE, those 31~40 years old had higher burnout levels in DP, and PA. Physicians who worked in medical centers had a higher rate in EE, DP, and who worked in metropolitan had higher burnout in PA. With specialty-in-training, physicians had higher-level burnout in EE and DP, but lower burnout in PA. Physicians who worked 13-17hr continuously had higher-level burnout in EE. Those with ≥41 times/week of being on call had higher-level burnout in EE and DP. Physicians who had medical malpractice experience had higher-level burnout in EE, DP, and PA. Physicians who were not satisfied with physician-patient relationships had higher-level burnout than those who were satisfied.
Conclusion: Physicians in Taiwan face both burnout and a high risk in medical malpractice. There is high incidence of burnout among Taiwan physicians. This can cause shortages in medical care human resources and affect patient safety. We believe that high burnout in physicians was due to long working hours and several other factors, like mental depression, the evaluation assessment system, hospital culture, patient-physician relationships, and the environment. This is a very important issue on public health that Taiwanese authorities need to deal with.
Keywords: Duty hour limitation.; Job Satisfaction; Medical malpractice; Physician burnout.