JAMA Retracts Paper Linking Physician Burnout to Poor Patient Care

Dawn O'Shea

May 28, 2020

JAMA  has retracted a paper linking physician burnout to poor patient care after a University of Manchester Panel of Investigation found flaws in the systematic review process of the study.

The original paper 'Association Between Physician Burnout and Patient Safety, Professionalism, and Patient Satisfaction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis' was first published online on 4 September 2018 then in the October 2018 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. The study was carried out by a group based at the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, in England. It concluded that burnt-out doctors might be jeopardising the well-being of patients.

The journal received correspondence in relation to the accuracy of the conclusions, with some pointing out that nearly 80 per cent of the studies included were at risk of bias. Furthermore, in many of the studies, patient-safety aspects were not reported or were self-reported.

JAMA has now issued a retraction notice based on the findings of a review by a University of Manchester Panel of Investigation. The review found no evidence of intentional fabrication. However, the Panel said, due to flaws in the systematic review process, it is likely that there are additional errors in the publication. "The Panel therefore cannot confirm that the results of the meta-analysis are wholly valid and recommend the paper be retracted," it told JAMA.

Bauchner H, Redberg RF. Notice of Retraction: Panagioti et al. Association Between Physician Burnout and Patient Safety, Professionalism, and Patient Satisfaction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(10):1317-1331. JAMA Intern Med. 2020 May 18 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1755. PMID: 32421149  View abstract 

Panagioti M, Geraghty K, Johnson J, Zhou A, Panagopoulou E, Chew-Graham C, Peters D, Hodkinson A, Riley R, Esmail A. Association Between Physician Burnout and Patient Safety, Professionalism, and Patient Satisfaction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(10):1317-1330. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3713. PMID: 30193239

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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