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ACP: Address physician burnout to improve patient safety

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The American College of Physicians says healthcare-sector stakeholders should physician burnout and stress to help  improve patient safety in ambulatory settings.

The authors of the ACP’s new policy paper, Patient Safety in the Office-Based Practice Setting, wrote:

“Emotional exhaustion, which is linked to standardized mortality ratios among intensive care units, may affect cognitive and physical ability to perform tasks and diminish memory and attention, lessening ability to attend to details and process highly technical information; mental detachment and deficiencies in personal accomplishment may cause individuals to neglect duties or complete seemingly minor but crucial patient safety activities,” the authors continued.

The paper’s authors backed the National Patient Safety Foundation’s recommendations that organizations should try to improve working conditions and staff resiliency. The foundation has said that programs should include fatigue-management systems, and bolstering communication skills, including regarding apologies and dispute resolution.

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