Published in Annals of Surgery, this study evaluated the relationship between burnout and perceived major medical errors among American surgeons. Members of the American College of Surgeons were sent an anonymous, cross-sectional survey that included self-assessment of major medical errors, a validated depression screening tool, and standardized assessments of burnout and quality of life. The study found that major medical errors reported by surgeons are strongly related to a surgeon’s degree of burnout and their mental quality of life. Although the study was unable to determine a cause– effect relationship or the direction of this association, each one point increase in depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and mental quality of life score was associated with a 5% to 11% higher likelihood of reporting a recent major medical error.
Safety and Patient Outcomes