The impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on gastroenterologists in Southeast Asia: a mixed-methods study

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Jun 22. doi: 10.1111/jgh.15594. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has impacted gastroenterology practices worldwide, however, its protracted effects within Southeast Asia were unknown. The primary aim of the study was to determine the impact of the pandemic on clinical demands including burnout among gastroenterologists within the region. The secondary aim was to identify risk factors for burnout and determine regional stressors.

METHODS: This was a mixed-methods study. Gastroenterologists were surveyed electronically between 1 September to 7 December 2020 via gastroenterology and endoscopy societies of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The 22-item Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI-HSS) was used to detect burnout. Quantitative data were non-parametric; non-parametric methods were used for statistical comparisons. Logistic regression was used to determine risk factors for burnout. Content analysis method was used to analyze qualitative data. Ethical approval was obtained.

RESULTS: 73.0% reported that they were still significantly affected by the pandemic. Of these, 40.5% reported increased workload and 59.5% decreased workload. Statistically significant differences in weekly working hours, endoscopy, and inpatient volumes were present. No differences were observed in outpatient volumes, likely because of telemedicine. Burnout was common however 50.1% of gastroenterologists were unaware of or did not have access to mental health support. This, as well as depression, being a trainee, and public sector work increased burnout risk significantly.

CONCLUSION: The effects of the pandemic are multi-faceted and burnout is common amongst Southeast Asian gastroenterologists. Safeguards for mental health are sub-optimal and improvements are urgently needed.

PMID:34159640 | DOI:10.1111/jgh.15594