Chinese vs US Docs: Comparing Burnout and Lifestyle

Carol Peckham


May 15, 2013

In This Article

Comparing Chinese and US Physicians on Lifestyle and Burnout

In an interesting collaboration, Medscape shared the questions in its 2013 lifestyle and burnout survey with DXY (, which is China's largest online academic portal for physicians and life-science professionals. DXY was established in 2000 and currently has over 3 million registered members and average daily page views of 1.8 million. In this comparison, Medscape and DXY sought to identify differences in how US and Chinese physicians perceive their lifestyles and their experience of burnout.

The first interesting observation to emerge was the large proportion of younger physicians who responded to the DXY survey. Only about 6% of the approximately 6000 Chinese respondents were over age 45. This higher rate of younger physicians is the result of major expansion in Chinese college/university enrollment since 1998, producing dramatic growth in the number of certified Chinese physicians over the past decade. In order to make a reasonable comparison with the Medscape survey results, then, only US physician respondents younger than age 45 were included in the analysis, which totaled about 7500.

There was also a challenge in comparing specialties; a third of the respondents to the DXY survey reported that they were involved in Chinese traditional medicine or a mix with standard medicine. Another 24.1% said that they were internists. The assumption was that these groups taken together would be considered primary care, for a total of 57%. On the US side, a quarter of the respondents reported being family physicians (12%) or general internists (13%). The remainder practiced in subspecialty areas. There was also a slight difference in the proportion of men and women: 32% of Chinese respondents were women compared with 41% of US respondents.


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