Effect of Organization-Directed Workplace Interventions on Physician Burnout: A Systematic Review

Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2019 Sep 26;3(4):384-408. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2019.07.006. eCollection 2019 Dec.


To assess the impact of organization-directed workplace interventions on physician burnout, including stress or job satisfaction in all settings, we conducted a systematic review of the literature published from January 1, 2007, to October 3, 2018, from multiple databases. Manual searches of grey literature and bibliographies were also performed. Of the 633 identified citations, 50 met inclusion criteria. Four unique categories of organization-directed workplace interventions were identified. Teamwork involved initiatives to incorporate scribes or medical assistants into electronic health record (EHR) processes, expand team responsibilities, and improve communication among physicians. Time studies evaluated the impact of schedule adjustments, duty hour restrictions, and time-banking initiatives. Transitions referred to workflow changes such as process improvement initiatives or policy changes within the organization. Technology related to the implementation or improvement of EHRs. Of the 50 included studies, 35 (70.0%) reported interventions that successfully improved the 3 measures of physician burnout, job satisfaction, and/or stress. The largest benefits resulted from interventions that improved processes, promoted team-based care, and incorporated the use of scribes/medical assistants to complete EHR documentation and tasks. Implementation of EHR interventions to improve clinical workflows worsened burnout, but EHR improvements had positive effects. Time interventions had mixed effects on burnout. The results of our study suggest that organization-directed workplace interventions that improve processes, optimize EHRs, reduce clerical burden by the use of scribes, and implement team-based care can lessen physician burnout. Benefits of process changes can enhance physician resiliency, augment care provided by the team, and optimize the coordination and communication of patient care and health information.

Keywords: EHR, electronic health record; MBI, Maslach Burnout Inventory; WTR, Working Time Regulations.

Publication types

  • Review