Intervention Research

More than half of the physicians in the U.S. report experiencing burnout. It is higher than among other U.S. workers even after controlling for hours worked and a variety of other factors. Burnout threatens organizational health, quality and safety of patient care, and physician health.

Studies conducted by Mayo investigators have found associations between burnout and medical error, medical malpractice litigation, decreased productivity and professional effort, turnover, suicidal ideation, and alcohol abuse and dependence.

The total cost attributed to burnout is between $3 and $4 billion annually to the U.S. health care system.

Physician well-being is a shared responsibility of individual physicians, their organizations and the medical profession. Guided by this principle, our intervention research focuses on developing and testing scalable and affordable approaches to inform individual, organizational and national well-being initiatives.

Several intervention studies and randomized trials conducted to date have resulted in implementation of organizational strategies aimed at improving physician well-being. For example, two randomized controlled trials tested the impact of biweekly, small-group curricula on physician well-being, job satisfaction and professionalism.

Physicians who participated in the trial intervention had a substantial decrease in burnout, and results were sustained at least 6 to 12 months after the intervention ended. Read more about the first of these studies here.

As a result of these studies, around 2,000 physicians and scientists at Mayo Clinic are engaged in COMPASS groups where they regularly meet for a meal to discuss common issues physicians face and cultivate connection.