The high rate of burnout among pain specialists found in a recent study may be a wake-up call to the specialty, as it places these physicians at risk for substance abuse, interpersonal difficulties and suicidal tendencies, and also increases the risk for medical errors. The investigators called for preemptive measures to help pain specialists before burnout sets in. Study investigator Dr. Kroll explained that one of the major causes of burnout for pain management physicians results from patients that are forced into pain management instead of simply staying in primary care. Kroll stated: “Because of recent FDA regulations, primary care physicians refuse to prescribe narcotics. So these patients are all coming to pain physicians, and they can be challenging and demanding. It really does create a tremendous psychological demand on the pain physicians. I think we need to create programs to mitigate and prevent burnout in our field.” Other doctors and hospital officials quoted in the story cite insurance company policy as an increasing access to care issue.
Read the full report from Pain Medicine News here.