Physician Staffing Blog

Healthcare News and Trends

Survey: Provider Burnout and Disengagement Seen as Most Potentially Disruptive Forces in Healthcare

March 22, 2021

2021 Healthcare Trends

By Phillip Miller

Thanks in part to Covid-19, America’s healthcare system faces a wide range of challenges and potential disruptions. First among these, according to a new survey, is provider burnout, disengagement and shortages.

The survey of 551 healthcare executives was conducted by AMN Healthcare’s Leadership Solutions division, which brings together AMN Healthcare with B.E. Smith and Merritt Hawkins, two prominent national search and consulting firms.

Given the immense financial losses to hospitals, medical groups and other healthcare facilities caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is somewhat surprising that provider issues such as burnout were rated the most potentially disruptive force facing the healthcare system in the next one to three years. This finding underscores how unsettling and traumatic Covid-19 has been for physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers and allied professionals.

Many of these professionals were experiencing high rates of burnout prior to the pandemic, which has only exacerbated these feelings. According to the 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians conducted by Merritt Hawkins on behalf of The Physicians Foundation, 58% of physicians often experience feelings of burnout today compared to 40% in 2018. Healthcare executives responding to the survey clearly are concerned that provider burnout, disengagement and resulting shortages, driven by Covid-19, are likely to create challenges and disruptions to their facilities in the months and years ahead.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Restoring deferred elective procedures, expanding service lines, and expanding telehealth are the top three strategies hospitals and health systems will use to grow in 2021
  • Even with deferred elective procedures, 83% of hospitals and health systems are experiencing nursing shortages, 30% physician shortages, and 14% executive shortages
  • 82% of healthcare executives say that filling executive positions remains challenging
  • Telehealth management, quality and safety management, and clinical leadership are the key skills healthcare executives need to develop

The survey report provides analysis of this data and identifies eleven key healthcare trends for 2021 that may be of interest to healthcare executives, physicians, nurses and others. A copy of the survey report may be downloaded here.

Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communications for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare, the largest healthcare staffing organization in the U.S. and the innovator of healthcare workforce solutions.

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