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Overcoming Burnout in Radiology


In a recent video interview, radiologist Jonathon Lee, MD, shared insights from his experience on the insidious nature of burnout, emphasized the link between work-life balance and productivity, and discussed a recent partnership between the teleradiology service provider vRad and the behavioral health consultancy VITAL WorkLife to help promote well-being for vRad teleradiologists.

Fifty-four percent of radiologists are suffering from burnout, according to a recent Medscape survey on burnout and depression.

In detailing his past experience with burnout in a recent interview, Jonathan Lee, MD, recalled a decade of gradually becoming more fatigued and unhappy with his work-life balance to a point he equated to being “chest-deep in quicksand” without realizing it. Then a trusted friend asked him a key question: Is your happiness worth anything?

“It was the first time I realized how unhappy I really had been. With that question, I knew I had to make a change. If my happiness was worth anything, I had to prove it to myself and to my family more importantly,” recalled Dr. Lee.

Dr. Lee subsequently transitioned from partnership in a busy radiology practice to being a teleradiologist with vRad (Virtual Radiologic). While teleradiology has favorable scheduling flexibility, Dr. Lee says leadership commitment is essential to burnout prevention for radiologists.

“It still comes down to how leadership views the importance of the radiologist’s emotional health because any job in an ideal situation can still lead to burnout when expectations for productivity still keep going up and up,” maintained Dr. Lee.

(Editor’s note: For related content, see “Addressing Burnout, Anxiety and Self-Care in the Age of COVID-19,” “’What’s My Motivation?’ Radiologist, Know Thyself” and “Has Burnout Become an Epidemic in Radiology?”)

Dr. Lee commends the recent partnership between vRad and VITAL WorkLife, a national behavioral health consultancy that has served the health-care field for over 15 years. VITAL WorkLife provides behavioral, health and counseling opportunities as well as concierge opportunities to take small chores of the plate of doctors.

“vRad has shown that they’re committed to giving radiologists a better work-life balance,” noted Dr. Lee. I don’t think that is purely altruistic. I think that is a deep-held understanding that if radiologists are more emotionally happy with their work-life balance, they’re going to be more productive.”

For more insights from Dr. Lee, watch the video below.

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