Internal and Emergency Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 421–428 | Cite as

Effect of emergency physician burnout on patient waiting times

  • Carla De Stefano
  • Anne-Laure Philippon
  • Evguenia Krastinova
  • Pierre Hausfater
  • Bruno Riou
  • Frederic Adnet
  • Yonathan FreundEmail author


Burnout is common in emergency physicians. This syndrome may negatively affect patient care and alter work productivity. We seek to assess whether burnout of emergency physicians impacts waiting times in the emergency department. Prospective study in an academic ED. All patients who visited the main ED for a 4-month period in 2016 were included. Target waiting times are assigned by triage nurse to patients on arrival depending on their severity. The primary endpoint was an exceeded target waiting time for ED patients. All emergency physicians were surveyed by a psychologist to assess their level of burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory. We defined the level of burnout of the day in the ED as the mean burnout level of the physicians working that day (8:30 to the 8:30 the next day). A logistic regression model was performed to assess whether burnout level of the day was independently associated with prolonged waiting times, along with previously reported predictors. Target waiting time was exceeded in 7524 patients (59%). Twenty-six emergency physicians were surveyed. Median burnout score was 35 [Interquartile (24–49)]. A burnout level of the day higher than 35 was independently associated with an exceeded target waiting time (adjusted odds ratio 1.54, 95% confidence interval 1.39–1.70), together with previously reported predictors (i.e., day of the week, time of the day, trauma, age and daily census). Burnout of emergency physicians was independently associated with a prolonged waiting time for patients visiting the ED.


Waiting times Emergency department Burnout 



The authors would like to thank Dr EC Baker (Royal London Hospital, London UK) and Pr T Simon (Hopital Saint Antoine, Paris) for their help and support.

Author contributions

YF had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. All authors had full access to data. Complete database can be obtained via the corresponding author (YF).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest with this study.

Statement of human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent



This study has not been funded, no compensation has been received.


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Copyright information

© SIMI 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emergency Department, Hopital AvicenneAssistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (APHP)BobignyFrance
  2. 2.Emergency Department, service d’accueil des urgencesHôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, APHPParisFrance
  3. 3.Paris Sorbonne UniversitésUPMC Univ Paris 06ParisFrance
  4. 4.Plateforme de recherche Clinique de l’est Parisien (URCEST-CRCEST), APHPHôpital St AntoineParisFrance
  5. 5.Université Sorbonne Paris CitéParis XIII NordBobignyFrance

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