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Background: Burnout is a highly prevalent occupation-related syndrome that impacts both physicians and patients. Resident physicians face unique challenges and stressors during their training, causing burnout, which affects the quality of care, patient outcomes, and the physician well being. In addition, mitigation of physician burnout creates a resilient future physician workforce. Mobile-based mindfulness interventions showed promising results in reducing physicians’ burnout. This paper describes the rationale and design of the first global multi-centered prospective randomized control study to assess the impact of mobile-based mindfulness on resident physician burnout.
Methods: We plan to conduct a multicenter cluster-randomized two-arms (1:1 ratio), double-blinded clinical trial. Institutions will be randomly assigned to the use of the Smiling Mind app or a dummy app. Participants will be reassessed at 30 and 60 days for the 3 aspects of the Maslach Burnout Inventory Scale (MBIS). The primary outcome for analysis is the emotional exhaustion aspect of the MBIS at 30 days. A linear mixed regression model with adjustments for clusters will be used.
Discussion: Burnout is a major issue especially among the particularly vulnerable and time-constrained group of physicians-in-training. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs are time-consuming. This study will offer the opportunity to investigate the effect of a brief mobile-based mindfulness intervention on resident physicians burnout.