We appreciate Dr. Abouleish’s1 interest in our study2 of burnout in U.S. anesthesiologists; this response highlights the need to address well-being from a systems and policy standpoint. We recognize the need for physicians, and all clinicians, to be in an environment that allows them to provide the high level of quality care that they have trained for. Unfortunately, intervening factors can impede their ability to do so. Organizational decisions are often made without the input of those delivering the care and ask of them to provide care in a manner inconsistent with the values of the clinical teams on the front lines.
We are encouraged by anesthesiologists like Dr. Abouleish who bring an informed healthcare economic perspective to the table to challenge solutions. Staffing shortages are an independent risk factor for both being at high risk for burnout and full burnout syndrome in U.S. attending anesthesiologists,2 and there is ample evidence that investing in clinician well-being can yield strong return on investment.3 Additionally, as the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resilience of the anesthesiology workforce and challenged both organization and clinician financial solvency, we need to take steps forward to identify those at high risk and prevent the serious ramifications of clinician burnout.
Fiscal solvency and clinician well-being are not mutually exclusive. But to attain both, practicing clinicians need a louder voice at the table.
The authors declare no competing interests.