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Editor's Correspondence |

Declining Proportion of Physician-Owned Practices Possibly Related to Increasing Burnout

Shivam Joshi, MD; Roger Nehaul, BS; Monica A. Broome, MD
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(8):710. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.3290.
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In their article “Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Balance Among US Physicians Relative to the General US Population,” Shanafelt et al do an excellent job identifying increased rates of burnout among physicians, especially those in primary care.1 Their findings deserve immediate action to address the underlying causes.

Shanafelt et al1 mentioned several possible contributors, but others also deserve mention. Unmistakably, health care has undergone a lot of changes within the past couple decades, including the precipitous decline of physician-owned practices. In 2009, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that the number of physicians who own their own practice has been declining at a rate of 2% annually for the past 25 years.2 This trend is not insignificant and may be related to the findings by Shanafelt et al.1 The same drivers affecting physician ownership of practices may also be at play in physician burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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