Reducing the Risk of Medical Errors and Physician Burnout

A recent Radiology Business article highlights a study from European Journal of Radiology [1] that found a direct correlation between the number of diagnostic errors that occur when radiologists exceed their average daily production. The study shows that radiologists generally worked 21% harder (in terms of reported examinations and compared to their own average daily productivity) on days they made a diagnostic error.  

The authors of the study encourage radiologists to exercise caution when their case load exceeds normal daily production. The study also suggests measuring a radiologist’s daily case load against his or her known average productivity, as well as monitoring daily productivity numbers over extended periods of time, can help. 

The Ripple Effect on Patient Safety 

The link between physician workload and patient safety is undeniable. The study mentioned above is one of many that highlight the connection between long hours, fatigue, and medical errors. It is no surprise that fatigued physicians are more likely to make diagnostic errors and overlook crucial details in patient care. 

The Reality of Overworked Physicians 

Staffing shortages and rising patient loads along with the increased administrative burdens leave physicians struggling with unprecedented workloads. The impact of the overload extends beyond patient safety, taking a toll on physicians' mental and emotional well-being.  

Burnout, characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decreased sense of accomplishment, has become a rampant issue in the medical field. The 2023 Radiology Business Salary and Job Satisfaction Report [2] indicates that the majority of radiologists, technicians and administrators are feeling the effects of burnout.  

A Multi-faceted Approach 

Addressing the correlation between overworked physicians, medical errors, and burnout requires a multi-faceted approach. Healthcare organizations must acknowledge the possible downside of increased productivity and act to alleviate the burden on physicians. Strategies can include streamlining administrative tasks, implementing time-saving tools and technologies, and creating more equitable workloads. 

Promoting a culture of work-life balance is also valuable. Encouraging physicians to take breaks, providing resources for mental health support, and offering flexible scheduling help create opportunities for mental rest and preservation of overall well-being. 


Blog Visuals_Overworked Physicians


A Powerful Tool 

Integrated data analytics are proven to be a powerful tool for understanding individual and overall productivity, a necessity for ensuring adequate staffing and equitable workload distribution. Timely insights help administrators respond proactively to prevent burnout, create flexible schedules and compensation models, and promote work-life balance. 

Quinsite's Productivity Ring mobile app enables physicians to monitor their own productivity in near real-time throughout their shift (similar to activity or step-tracker concept) while also providing them with a comparative analysis against benchmarks established by practice leadership. These insights empower physicians to make workflow adjustments or seek assistance if they encounter challenges in meeting performance expectations. 

ARA Health Specialists (ARAHS) leverages Quinsite’s Productivity Ring app and Provider Productivity dashboard to establish practice-wide benchmarks and define productivity expectations (based on various factors such as rotation, subspecialty, day of the week, time of day, etc.). This comprehensive approach facilitates proactive collaboration between practice leaders and physicians to identify and address potential productivity issues early on and reduce the risk of physician burnout.

Joe Giuffrida, ARAHS Chief Operating Officer, explains, "Throughout the day, rotation, or shift, Quinsite keeps physicians informed about their performance in relation to the expected standards. This level of scrutiny is highly impactful, ensuring that individuals do not work at an unreasonable or unsafe pace that could lead to issues." 

Learn more about ARAHS’s story HERE or CONTACT US to discover how Quinsite can help your practice reduce medical errors and physician burnout.   

  1.  Work overload and diagnostic errors in radiology, European Journal of Radiology. Aug. 10, 2023. 
  2. The 2023 Radiology Business Salary and Job Satisfaction Report, Radiology Business, Aug. 9, 2023.