News: WHO says burnout is an “occupational phenomenon”

CDI Strategies - Volume 13, Issue 32

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it now officially recognizes workplace burnout in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), Credentialing Resource Center reported. This comes as the healthcare industry is seeing an increasing number of cases of physician and provider burnout.

The WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

WHO statement made it clear that burnout is listed as an “occupational phenomenon. It is not classified as a medical condition.” Though not referred to as a medical condition, however, it is included as a cause for which people might contact health services in the absence of an illness or health condition.

The organization had previously defined the phenomenon as a “state of vital exhaustion,” and this is the first time it’s being linked as a work hazard, according to Credentialing Resource Center.

ICD-11 says burnout is characterized by three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

Burnout “refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life,” according to the WHO statement.

The WHO is about to embark on the development of evidence-based guidelines related to mental well-being in the workplace.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Credentialing Resource Center. To read about the estimated annual costs of physician burnout, click here.

Found in Categories: 
News, Physician & CDI Education