An epidemic of physician burnout is hurting doctors, costing American healthcare organizations
billions and putting patients at risk. Technology leaders are helping physicians find professional
balance through smarter shift schedules powered by artificial intelligence.

See how smarter shift scheduling combats physician burnout

Three Technology Best Practices to Prevent Physician Burnout

Schedule Physicians Fairly

Build physician shift schedules that are fair and transparent. The AMA reports that “a perceived lack of equity in the workplace” is a primary breakdown in the medical profession. Use rule-based scheduling technology to show exactly how call times and night shifts are evenly distributed among clinicians.

Provide Physician Control

Mayo Clinic advocates for giving physicians “a sense of control over their work and schedules” as a key tool in reducing burnout. Smart scheduling technology is designed for flexibility, allowing for easy shift trades and time-off request approvals. The average medical department using Lightning Bolt manages 116 monthly change requests.

Analyze and optimize

Measure physician satisfaction regularly and evaluate the results in the context of scheduling decisions. Does providing additional vacation time increase staff retention? Is an additional provider needed to create more fairly balanced shifts? Use data to uncover what matters most for the wellness of your own healthcare team.

physician shortage

The Physician Burnout Crisis By the Numbers

It may seem counterintuitive: the toughest scheduling requirements deliver the best optimized shift schedules. Rules that generate headaches for manual scheduling such as “Dr. Smith should only work with Dr. Chen on Tuesdays, if the cath lab is also open” are a snap for our AI system to navigate. With Lightning Bolt, complexity is encouraged. Set up hundreds of scheduling rules and our AI will consider them all to automatically generate the best possible shift combinations:

  • More than half of all physicians (54 percent) now show at least one symptom of burnout, up 10 percent over three years. (Mayo Clinic)

  • Emergency medicine is the most burned out specialty “with nearly 60 percent of ED physicians saying they feel burned out, up from half in 2013.” (AMA)

  • Stanford Medicine estimates that physician burnout costs their organization at least $7.75 million a year. (AMA)

  • 20 percent of residents said they had fallen asleep while driving because of work-related fatigue. (UCLA)

  • “More than 7 percent of nearly 7,000 doctors had considered suicide within the prior 12 months, compared with 4 percent of other workers. About 400 a year go through with it.” (Reuters)

  • Burnout-related turnover across all U.S. physicians could be costing hospitals and health systems as much as $17 billion each year. (National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare)

  • Burned out physicians are twice as likely to be involved in patient safety incidents. (JAMA Internal Medicine)

  • Seven out of 10 physicians wouldn’t recommend their profession to their children or family members. (The Doctors Company)
Learn how AI scheduling technology can fight physician burnout

Focused on Finding Physician Burnout Solutions

Lightning Bolt’s mission is to bring balance to medicine. Our team is constantly studying and debating how technology can help provide a better professional work-life for physicians. AI technology can do incredible things, including allowing physicians to work fewer hours, take more vacations, practice at the top of their license, and increase patient access. Here are just a few of our recent articles and speaking engagements on the topic of burnout:

  • Doctors are dangerously tired and healthcare leaders aren’t taking action (KevinMD)
  • Physician burnout: A public health crisis (Commonwealth Club)
  • Building burnout-proof culture in your medical practice (Continuum)
  • Balanced scheduling helps deliver hopeful prognosis for physicians tackling burnout (LinkedIn)
  • Health providers tackle physician burnout (Record-Eagle)
Contact our physician burnout experts


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Success Stories of Reducing Physician Burnout

There is real progress being made in the physician burnout crisis. Innovative healthcare organizations are taking a fresh approach to scheduling, operations and the mental health of their physician workforce, with significant results.

  • How one hospitalist group uses smarter scheduling to reduce burnout and increase staff retention to 97.6 percent (AAPL)
  • The Johns Hopkins Office of Work, Life and Engagement helps their physicians create flexible work schedules (Johns Hopkins)
  • Dr. Bromley and the Ruth Carr Program for Physician Vitality are leading the conversation on reducing burnout, depression and suicide among physicians (UCLA)
  • Boston Children’s Hospital Office of Clinician Support advocates for schedules that accommodate administrative tasks (Boston Children’s)
  • The AMA offers online CME coursework on physician burnout prevention through their STEPS Forward program (AMA)
See how UK HealthCare reduced time spent scheduling by over 80%

The solutions to physician burnout are “20 percent at the individual level and 80 percent at the system and organization level.”

– Tait Shanafelt, director for the Program on Physician Well-Being, professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic

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