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Cardinal Health Oncology Insights: Oncologists Report High Levels of Burnout Symptoms, Increased Stress

Research shows stress leading oncologists to consider leaving the field, retiring or selling their practice

DUBLIN, Ohio, June 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 90% of oncologists said they experience emotional exhaustion at work, and more than two-thirds said they experience additional symptoms of burnout, such as cynicism, detachment and feeling unaccomplished or ineffective, according to new research released today from Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions in the eleventh edition of Oncology Insights, a biannual research-based report series analyzing the views of oncologists nationwide.

This edition features perspectives from more than 170 U.S. oncologists on the impact of burnout on oncologists, as well as changing value-based care models and patient access barriers to specialty medication.

More than half (56%) of participating oncologists said they are experiencing higher levels of stress than prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While 55% say they are able to manage stress effectively, 60% require 4 or more additional hours per week to complete their work responsibilities, with one-third reporting they require 7 or more additional hours weekly. Nearly one-third of respondents (30%) say they have considered retiring early as a result of increased workplace stress. These findings on the state of oncologists' mental health show that increased levels of stress and persistent pressures, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, could potentially lead to oncologists leaving the field. 

"Our research shows a stark contrast between oncologists' reported ability to manage stress and the actual impact it is having on their well-being, which certainly warrants closer evaluation and monitoring," said Bruce Feinberg, DO, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions.

"Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions offers expert guidance and services that enable physicians to meet the increasing demand for oncology care. These research findings, coupled with the recent Surgeon General's advisory noting a projected physician shortage by 2033, shine a light on the need to address the high levels of stress among oncologists," said Heidi Hunter, President of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions. "In line with the Surgeon General's recommendation, we will continue developing solutions to help reduce administrative burdens, so oncologists can have more time for their patients and their personal well-being."

In addition to findings on workplace burnout, the report also examines oncologists' views on patient access barriers and their perspectives on what's next for value-based care after the Oncology Care Model (OCM) is phased out in June 2022. Key findings include:

  • Nearly 90% of respondents noted prior authorizations as a significant barrier when starting patients on new medications, with 80% saying this process has a negative impact on patient outcomes.
  • Nearly 75% of participating oncologists said they are unsure if they will join the yet-to-be-defined program that will replace the OCM.

The full report is available for download at

Cardinal Health understands the importance of mental health support and has invested nearly $2.6 million in suicide prevention and increased access to mental health services. Cardinal Health has also launched a global mental health initiative for its employees called Mind Matters.

About Cardinal Health
Cardinal Health is a distributor of pharmaceuticals, a global manufacturer and distributor of medical and laboratory products, and a provider of performance and data solutions for health care facilities. With 50 years in business, operations in more than 30 countries and approximately 44,000 employees globally, Cardinal Health is essential to care. Information about Cardinal Health is available at

Media: to request a copy of the report, please contact Victor Scott, and (847) 887-1393.

SOURCE Cardinal Health

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