Survey: Many Hospital Doctors Have Unsafely High Workloads

When patients receive care from a doctor, they expect to receive quality care. When doctors fail to act properly in connection to patient care, it can result in patients suffering great harm. It can sometimes even result in a patient dying.

Recently, some results were released from a survey that regarded one of the things that can get in the way of patients receiving quality care from doctors: overly heavy doctor workloads. The survey’s results are troubling.

The survey was done in 2010. The survey was conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University. The survey was conducted electronically. In the survey, 506 hospital-based doctors were surveyed. The doctors were asked questions regarding their workload and its impacts.

The survey’s results indicate that having too high of a workload is a worrisomely common occurrence for hospital doctors. Reportedly, 40 percent of the doctors surveyed said that at least once a month they saw more patients than they could manage safely.

The results of the survey also indicated that overly heavy doctor workloads have been having significant impacts on patients. Reportedly, in the survey, 7 percent of the doctors said that high work loads may have led to patients of theirs suffering complications. Even more worrisome. 5 percent of the doctors said that, in the past year, high work loads likely led to at least one of their patients dying.

This survey’s results give rise to some very important questions. Why are overly heavy doctor workloads so common? What can/should hospitals and governments do to try to reduce the occurrence of overly heavy doctor workloads? Will we see an increase or a decrease in the occurrence of overly heavy doctor workloads in upcoming years?

Source: Bloomberg, “Doctors Heavy Caseloads Put Patients at Risk, Study Shows,” Shannon Pettypiece, Jan. 28, 2013

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