Doctors' wellbeing is an integral part of quality patient care. Physician burnout has become increasingly recognised as a threat to the wellbeing of medical professionals, as well as healthcare systems and their global sustainability. A recent local survey indicated that 72.6% of Hong Kong doctors have reported personal burnout. The impact of burnout extends beyond the individual and has been shown to decrease quality of care, increase medical errors, decrease patient satisfaction, decrease productivity and professional effort, and increase staff attrition.
Positive psychology – the scientific study of character strengths, positive relationships, and life purpose that enable individuals and communities to thrive and live meaningful lives – has been demonstrated to have an impact on building resilience and countering burnout. Nevertheless, the effects of such interventions have not been studied in our locality and specialty. This is particularly important for anaesthesiologists, who have been identified in the literature as a specialty with a high risk of burnout, depression, and physician suicide. It is vital to identify effective measures to counter burnout within this specialty.
Traditional psychological interventions require extensive time commitment in the form of face-to-face meetings and workshops, which physicians often find difficult in the face of busy clinical work. The study aims to utilise an original and innovative approach that incorporates technological advances to publicise positive psychology interventions amongst healthcare professionals, striking a balance between time commitment and the effectiveness of interventions.
This research hopes to demonstrate a measurable effect on decreasing burnout and enhancing wellbeing, as well as showing that it is a feasible approach to facilitate building resilience amongst busy healthcare professionals and positively contribute to the literature. The goal is to develop and test an online web-based application and interventional tool that can eventually be made freely accessible to all healthcare professionals globally.