Capacity to address patient social needs affects primary care clinician burnout

Twenty-nine primary care clinicians provided insight into the relationship between patient social needs and physician burnout through semi-structured interviews. Four key themes appeared throughout these interviews: (1) burnout can affect how clinicians evaluate their clinic’s social needs resources; (2) unmet social needs affect practices by influencing clinic flow, treatment planning, and clinician emotional wellness; (3) social services embedded in primary care clinics buffer against burnout by increasing efficiency, restoring clinicians’ medical roles, and improving morale; and (4) clinicians view clinic-level interventions to address patients’ social needs as a necessary but insufficient strategy to address burnout. The clinicians noted the importance of social needs interventions being timely, accessible and tailored to each individual patient, while being responsive to patient feedback. The clinicians were skeptical that referral-based interventions based solely on referrals would adequately address patients’ social needs.


Capacity to Address Social Needs Affects Primary Care Clinician Burnout

Alina Kung, MD, MS, et al.

University of California, Berkeley – University of California, San Francisco Joint Medical Program, Berkeley, California

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