Three Ontario doctors to study physician burnout
September 27, 2023
TORONTO – The Ontario Medical Foundation has awarded $42,500 to each of three doctors to study solutions to the growing issue of physician burnout. “Burnout is a critical issue in healthcare, impacting almost three-quarters of physicians and made worse by the pandemic,” said Dr. Albert Ng (pictured), president of the OMF, the charitable arm of the Ontario Medical Association. “To have healthy patients and a high-quality healthcare system, you need healthy physicians.”
The three recipients and their projects are:
- Dr. Julie Maggi, a psychiatrist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, will provide mindfulness training to physician leaders who work with equity deserving groups – communities that experience significant barriers in participating in society – or have formal roles in equity, diversity and inclusion. Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present moment, free of distractions and judgments.
- Dr. Noah Ivers, a family physician at Women’s College Hospital, in Toronto, will train family physicians to act as peer guides to help their colleagues address pain points in their workflow and find ways increase joy in their daily clinical practice.
- Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam, a psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, is building a framework to evaluate physician wellness initiatives across Ontario, to ensure effective and meaningful opportunities for reducing burnout.
The grants were made possible by a $150,000 donation from Dr.Bill, a medical billing platform backed by RBCx, to fund research to reduce barriers to equitable healthcare, specifically physician burnout.
These projects are expected to be completed within one year.
Almost three quarters (72.9 percent) of physicians surveyed by the Ontario Medical Association said they experienced some level of burnout in 2021 after one year into the pandemic, up from 66 percent the previous year. More than one-third (34.6 percent) reported either persistent symptoms of burnout or feeling completely burned out in 2021, up from 29 percent in 2020. One of the leading causes of burnout is the administrative burden, including filling out forms.
“We are thrilled to see this milestone and the tangible benefit of Dr.Bill’s donation to the OMF just four months after this unique grant program was established,” said Sarah Wilkison, CEO of Dr.Bill.
“We’re proud to play a part in helping to solve for burnout by supporting physician-led research on solutions. Canada’s physicians remain at great risk of burning out and we know we can mitigate some of their burden in targeted areas like administration and billing. We remain committed to this critical issue, giving doctors more time for patients and personal lives.”
The Ontario Medical Foundation’s mandate has moved beyond physicians supporting physicians, to addressing the social determinants of health and other systemic barriers to health equity. Social determinants of health are the non-medical factors that can influence health such as income, education, housing and food insecurity.