Sunday, April 2, 2023

Clinical Burnout in O & P Results are In!

Gerald Stark

Hey O & P ListServ Community!

Thanks so much for your participation in this survey on Clinical Burnout in O & P!

-We had 404 respondents over 24 days with 100% completion rate with an average time of 3m:39s.

-65% were CPO’s, 15% were CP’s, 12% were CO’s and the rest were Assistants and Technicians, reflecting the change to a strong CPO majority

-27% were in single office, Privately owned offices, 21% were in Regional Multi-center Private owned offices followed by, 16% at Regional Multi-center Corporate owned offices. Perhaps Cross Regional Multi-center Corporate offices were under-represented

-31% had 26 or more years which could be more representative than the population, 16% had 0-5 years, and 15% had 6-10 years of experience.

-40% were Staff members, 15% were Office managers, 12% were Owners that would seem consistent with population.

The Total Average Burnout Score was 43.19 indicating that the entire profession is classified as “At Risk for Burnout.” However 29% are severe risk or higher of burnout, and 8.2% are at very high risk of burnout. So about 1 out of 3 of you are “right there” in terms of burnout!

The highest weighted rating was 3.45, “I feel run down and drained of physical or emotional energy.” Followed by 3.27, “I am frustrated with parts of my job” and 3.21, “I find that I do not have time to plan as much as I would like to.” The factors with the highest number of 4 & 5’s were the first two as well as “Frustration with Organizational Politics & Bureaucracy.”

-The highest burnout scores were among CPO’s at 44.6 followed by orthotists at 41.06 and Prosthetics at 39.53. This could be related to patient volume and expectations between the disciplines.

-Those with 11-15 years of experience at 44.79 were at the highest level, which correlates to previous anxiety and happiness attributes in my other surveys. The burnout score was surprisingly high for those with 0-5 years at second, when this should be the lowest level. Lowest was those with 26> years of experience at 41.82.

-Office managers at 45.47 followed by staff members were relatively high at 44.99, but Administrators were the lowest at 36.83, but again none of these were significant.

-Regional Corporate Offices and Cross regional Corporate offices were highest at 45.63 and 45.26 respectively. Research and Manufacturing consultation positions were the lowest at 36.67

So if you are a CPO, Clinic Manager at a Regional or Cross Regional Office, with 11-15 years experience….watch out for burnout, however there were only 3 of these out of 404 respondents and they did not mark burnout as very high at 35, 37, 42, so go figure…..

The comments, as always, were quite colorful regarding factors contributing or alleviating burnout:

Some pointed to patient volume:
Multiple factors including declining reimbursement, increased demand, increased costs of hiring, etc. have us pushing to maximize every product & service. There is little time to do the “extras.” The delivery method has come to feel like retail – get as many in and out as possible.

Some regarding management:
Constant pressure to produce more while our profession’s ability to be reimbursed for the type of care that our patients deserve is constantly in jeopardy. Knowing that at the end of the day I’m only going to be paid based on the components that I supply instead of the care that I provide.

Some Reimbursement:
Greater documentation requirements (especially for pre-auth), lower reimbursements for same devices with same or increased budgets, recent PDAC down-coding of many commonly used feet.

This last comment was particularly concerning:
I’m a new practitioner…..The cost of entry to the field is much higher than I initially thought and when you go from school to a residency salary it is a major financial pinch….the whole field seems to be in a very difficult place and I often wonder if it is a viable lifelong career.

I will process the data more to see if there are any significant relationships and regressive predictors. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. If you are at risk of burnout, the positive comments said to reach out to your work community immediately. The encouraging thing is “having someone to talk to” was one of the lowest factors of anxiety at 2.42, so it would seem we have a supportive community!

Wishing you statistical significant happiness at p-value<.005**, Gerry Gerald Stark, Ph.D, MSEM, CPO/L, FAAOP(D) Senior Clinical Specialist Adjunct Instructor

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