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Comment & Response
July 2018

Correlates and Outcomes of Physician Burnout—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 2Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(7):1000. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.2403

In Reply We agree with Chang et al that anxiety and depression among physicians is common, and there is ample evidence of underdiagnosis and undertreatment.1 However, burnout and depression are distinct. Conflating the 2 has consequences for physician well-being, health care quality, and patient safety.

There is considerable overlap between burnout and depression, leading some to conclude that they are the same.2 However, depression affects all domains of life, whereas burnout is work-specific.3 Given the overlap between burnout and depression, we agree that screening for depression and anxiety among physicians is important. However, focusing on this 1 complication of burnout fails to address the root of the problem, which is not the physician, but the working conditions.4

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