Chinese Physicians More Burned Out Than US Physicians

Think you have it bad? Consider the Chinese.

Overburdened primary care physicians are at high risk for burnout, and even suicide.

But even this sad story is relative. Compared to Chinese physicians, US physicians have it great.

Medscape just partnered with DXY, China's largest site for physicians, to survey provider despair. The site has over 3 million registered members. Here’s what they discovered:

o 82% of Chinese physicians said they were burned out compared to 42% of American physicians
o 87% of Chinese physicians said they have either minimal or no savings compared to 43% of American physicians
o Some reports show that Chinese physicians make between 3,500 to 10,000 yuan ($560 to $1600) a month
o 64% of Chinese physicians reported getting less than 1 week of vacation a year compared to 5% of US physicians

Like US primary care physicians, Chinese physicians ranked "difficult patients" high on their list of burnout causes. Negative media coverage of hospitals and physicians is in prevalent in China; so is the belief that doctors are corrupted by pharmaceutical kickbacks.

The comparison doesn’t imply US primary care physicians should consider themselves lucky. But, a little perspective might help make the burden easier to bear, at least for a minute.