And healthcare professionals need organizational support to bring that ratio back into balance. "It's not just a matter of if I, the provider, learn how to do this workflow, it's going to be OK," she says. "So what can an organization do to help? There needs be a framework to understand where the pain points are, and then how an organization can do something about that."
"One thing burned-out doctors reliably do is leave the practice. When people leave, it costs a quarter of a million dollars to replace them."
Linzer's own research has uncovered similar themes. In 1996, The Physician Worklife Study, a national survey of physician satisfaction funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that time pressure diminished physician satisfaction and that physicians were experiencing stress related to lack of work control.
The Minimizing Error, Maximizing Outcome (MEMO) Study published in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2009, looked at how organizational climate and work conditions affected clinicians and quality of care.
Among 422 physician respondents, 48% said their office environment was tending toward or, frankly was, chaotic, while 49% said their work was stressful; 27% noted burnout symptoms; and 30% said they were at least moderately or more likely to leave their jobs within two years.
"One thing burned-out doctors reliably do is leave the practice. When people leave, it costs a quarter of a million dollars to replace them," he says.
Even a modest investment in burnout prevention can yield positive results, says Linzer.
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.