About a week ago, the Washington Post published a stinging essay on the problems with excessive paperwork in medicine. A study of 7,000 physicians found that half showed symptoms of burnout, with surveys consistently showing that doctors who spend too little time on meaningful activities are much more likely to burn out—and to go part time, leave their practice, or simply leave medicine. Researchers estimate that half of physicians log on to their electronic health record from home, just to complete their documentation for the day. Though it’s long been assumed that surgeons are unusually susceptible to burnout, data suggest that surgeons are actually reporting high rates of professional fulfillment. Why? The thinking is that surgeons spend much of their time doing meaningful work in

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