Any time clinical operations are changed, there is stress. Questions are frequently raised about the impact of improved patient flow on the folks who are taking care of more patients than ever before. This study, done at the Massachusetts General Hospital Operating Room of the Future, asks those questions. Using the Maslach Burnout Inventory, researchers measured the impact that patient flow improvements had on sense of personal accomplishment and emotional exhaustion.

Significant functional improvements were found in the ORF (more than 35% reduction in flow time and wait time, P < .05). During the same period, more exposure to the ORF resulted in greater sense of personal accomplishment among surgeons, a worse sense of personal accomplishment among nurses, more emotional exhaustion among surgeons, and less emotional exhaustion among nurses. However, the responses for emotional exhaustion were reversed the greater the time from exposure to the ORF. Staff with 6 to 10 years' experience were at highest risk for burnout across all categories. General surgeons experienced more emotional exhaustion than other physicians.

If operational and clinical changes are to provide long term benefits, users must see a benefit (beyond caring for more patients). The MBI-HSS provides a tool to test the impact of change across departments and institutions.