Physician Burnout Calls for Legal Intervention

Hastings Center Report 49 (6):8-9 (2019)
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Physician burnout is receiving more attention in the medical literature, and deservedly so. For example, in October of 2019, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a lengthy report called Taking Action against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well‐Being. The report is comprehensive and well worth reading, and it offers a series of sound recommendations for addressing the burnout problem. However, the recommendations are quite ambitious, and implementing them would require a considerable investment of time, staffing, and financial resources. The medical community should not be left to grapple with the phenomenon of physician burnout alone. The law has a significant role to play in addressing the problem. As a first step, it is useful to consider a few concrete interventions that regulators could realistically implement in the short term.



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