Coronavirus: Physician well-being hurt by pandemic, survey says

June 26, 2020

Nearly half of the respondents say their office burnout and personal burnout is at an all-time high.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is causing severe damage to physicians’ well-being, according to a new survey from The Larry A. Greene Center and the Primary Care Collaborative.

The survey found that, of the physician respondents, 36 percent say their physical well-being has been suffered while 45 percent say their psychological well-being has suffered. A further 44 percent say that their personal burnout has reached an all-time high and 48 percent reported their office burnout is at an all-time high. Compounding the issues, 63 percent of respondents are reporting that their stress is severe or near severe stress levels over the past week and 41 percent say they struggle to know when their workday ends.

The damage has moved beyond the physicians, though, as 65 percent of respondents say the well-being of their families has suffered due to their work.

The pandemic also continues to have a negative effect on practices, as 39 percent of respondents say that they have needed to layoff or furlough clinicians or staff. A further 25 percent of respondents say that they have skipped or deferred their own salaries, and another five percent reported that their practice is now temporarily or permanently closed, the survey says.

Some patients are still being seen as 60 percent of respondents report their non-face-to-face patient volume is at an all-time high. Meanwhile 60 percent of respondents say they are limiting well and chronic care and 14 percent say they have had telehealth billing be denied.

When asked what they need to stay open, the top responses included:

  • 21 percent need personal protective equipment as most have severely limited access to the equipment
  • 16 percent need a return of in-person office visits as full workloads of non-in-person care is not enough to keep their practice viable
  • 17 percent need financial assistance as increasing receivables are now inadequate for recovery from loss
  • 12 percent need telehealth support to continue as it is becoming a key part of healthcare but not if the payment models is discontinued