WHO adds burnout to ICD-11. What it means for physicians
September 25, 2019
Burnout is now categorized as a "syndrome" that results from "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed," according to the World Health Organization's International Disease Classification (ICD-11)-the official compendium of diseases. What does this update mean for physicians who, as a profession, face widespread burnout?
Committed to making?physician burnout a thing of the past, the?AMA has studied,?and is currently addressing issues causing and fueling physician burnout-including time constraints, technology and regulations-to better?understand and reduce the challenges physicians face.?By focusing on factors causing burnout at the system-level, the AMA assesses an organization's well-being and offers guidance and targeted solutions to support physician well-being and satisfaction.?
Burnout appears in the ICD-11 section on problems related to employment or unemployment. According to this handbook, burnout is described as: Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
Increased mental distance, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job.
Reduced professional efficacy.
However, it is important to rule out adjustment disorder, anxiety, and mood disorders. Additionally, this syndrome is limited to work environments and should not be applied to other areas of a person's life.
"What is important here is to understand that in the ICD-11 definition, burnout is identified as an occupational phenomenon and not a medical condition," said Christine Sinsky, MD, vice president of professional satisfaction at the AMA. "Burnout is primarily related to the environment, such as when there is a mismatch between the workload and the resources needed to do the work in a meaningful way."
"Although burnout is more prevalent among physicians, it affects people in other occupations as well," noted Dr. Sinsky. "Patients working in other fields can experience the occupation syndrome of burnout."