Because of high levels of physician burnout across the United States and a low level of information on burnout in allergist-immunologists, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) administered the Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) to analyze 3 traits in allergist-immunologists, according to a report from the ACAAI Physician Wellness Taskforce published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The main objective of this survey was to assess the risk for burnout in ACAAI physicians. During the “Finding Balance,” a webinar focusing on issues of wellness and burnout, presented by Gailen D. Marshall, MD, PhD, the MBI-HSS was administered to ACAAI member volunteers. MBI-HSS was offered for completion to US-based practicing North American allergist-immunologists from September 1 through November 13, 2017. A second round was offered to ACAAI fellows-in-training (FIT) members from January 23 to April 3, 2018.

The MBI-HSS is a 22-question survey that analyzes 3 responses to physicians experiencing burnout: levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. The survey results were compared with a general health services (GHS) population of >11,000 people. A total of 358 allergist-immunologists members (14.3% of 67 those invited) and 61 FIT members (16.9% of those invited) completed the survey.


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Allergist-immunologist members had a mean frequency score of 2.6 for emotional exhaustion, which was slightly higher than the GHS population (2.3). Allergist-immunologists also had 1.3 for depersonalization while the GHS population surveyed a 1.7. Lastly, allergist-immunologists scored a 5 for personal accomplishment while the GHS population scored 4.3. FIT members scored a 2.7 for emotional exhaustion, 1.8 for depersonalization, and 4.4 for personal accomplishment.

The data suggest that as an overall group, both allergist-immunologists and FITs experience slightly higher levels of emotional exhaustion compared with the GHS population. The allergist-immunologists had lower depersonalization scores than both the FITs and GHS population. Both allergist-immunologists and FITs had higher sense of personal accomplishment compared with the GHS population. These scores indicate a possible burnout risk for both groups. The data were not significantly different by gender, age, or years in practice; however, the authors noted that further research is necessary to assess subgroup indicators.

There are several limitations to these results, including a small sample size, which may not be an accurate representation of the burnout risk for the entire community, and the survey was only completed by a North American population.

Reference

Marshall GD Jr, Blaiss M, Dixit A, et al. Risk for physician burnout in the American allergist-immunologist workforce [published online June 13, 2020]. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2020.06.010.1016