- CATEGORIES: Data and Research,Doctors and Hospitals,Improve Your Practice,Nurses,Research,Research for Providers
- No comments
Since we spend a significant portion of our life working, job satisfaction is an important indicator of overall happiness. Recent studies indicate a continuing decrease in job satisfaction in the United States. In fact, studies show that as many as 55% of working adults want to change careers, even in upper management levels. Physician burnout has been well documented recently (see for example, our article) http://triagelogic.com/Physician-Burnout and concerns are developing that there will be even more burnout as a result of new HIPAA and Affordable Care Act regulations. Of course, health executives, office managers, and patients must recognize the need to address barriers to physician job satisfaction in order to receive the high quality care we expect. This month, RAND Corporation released results of a study on job satisfaction among physicians.
SO WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THE SURVEY?
The study conducted by the RAND Corp., and funded by the American Medical Association, interviewed 220 physicians across 30 physician practices in six states. The survey identified that “Physicians are pleased and happy professionally when they perceive that they’re giving high-quality patient care, and they’re unhappy when they can’t meet patients’ needs and when there are barriers to quality patient care,” according to study author, Dr. Mark Friedberg.
According to the RAND survey, doctors are happier under the following circumstances:
- When they perceive that they’re giving high-quality patient care
- When they have more autonomy and greater control over the pace of their work
- Physicians in physician-owned practices or partnerships were more likely to be satisfied compared to those in hospital or corporate-owned practices
AMA President, Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven said, “Medicine isn’t a job. It’s not even just a career. Medicine is a calling. Happy doctors are important because they’re a kind of marker for the health of the whole system.”
The survey also provided insight as to what causes dissatisfaction among physicians. One of the key obstacles to providing patients the best care possible was electronic health records. While four out of five doctors said they wouldn’t return to paper health records, they find EHRs to be overly time-consuming. One physician in the survey indicated “Physicians have to order everything themselves, which is time-consuming, and do all the data entry themselves, which is time-consuming.” Additionally, surveyed doctors indicated that EHRs need better user interfaces that are more intuitive in order to make workflow easier, and be able to integrate easily with other systems to provide a seamless transition of records between doctors and hospitals. Overall, the RAND study highlighted how physicians want to spend quality time with their patients, and not doing so makes some feel they are shortchanging them. One primary care physician commented, “I guess it’s the wave of the future to be able to see more patients in a shorter amount of time. I just don’t think a 15-minute visit is remotely feasible.”
WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE TO INCREASE PHYSICIAN SATISFACTION?
As the results clearly show, doctors want to spend more time with their patients. To accomplish this goal, health care executives and office managers need to develop shared-care models that decrease outside burdens on physicians and that allow them to focus on the patient. A recent report by Becker’s Hospital Review includes the following suggestions
- Reducing work through pre-visit planning and pre-appointment laboratory tests
- Sharing clinical care among team members, for example, by allowing nurses to handle some of the aspects of patient care that don’t require a physician
- Using scribes, non-physician order entry and streamlined prescription management
- Having a nurse or medical assistant filter electronic and paper information for fewer inbox messages
- Using team meetings, co-location and workflow mapping to improve team function
In sum, by making the care process easier, physicians will have more time to meet with and treat patients. This positive work environment for physicians can lead to a better experience for patients, which, in turn, makes for happier doctors. The positive cycle created is a win-win for everyone involved.
What do you believe is the most important factor affecting physician satisfaction, and how best can it be addressed?
Emmi Solutions (2013). Are We Forgetting Physician Satisfaction? Engaging the Patient. Retrieved online October 17, 2013 at: http://engagingthepatient.com/2013/05/23/are-we-forgetting-physician-satisfaction/
Gordon, S. (2013). Doctors Want to Provide Best Care Possible to Patients.MedicineNet.com. Retrieved online October 12, 2013 from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=174378
Mazzolini, C. (2013). Most physicians read their online reviews, survey finds. Medical Economics. Retrieved online October 12, 2013 from http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/most-physicians-read-their-online-reviews-survey-finds
University of Phoenix (2013). More than half of working adults are interested in changing careers and nearly three-quarters are not in the career they planned. Retrieved online at: http://www.phoenix.edu/news/releases/2013/07/more-than-half-of-working-adults-are-interested-in-changing-careers-and-nearly-three-quarters-are-not-in-the-career-they-planned-reveals-university-of-phoenix-survey.html
Zimlich, R. (2013). Physician ratings help patients pick providers. Medical Economics. Retrieved online Oct. 17, 2013 from: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-feature-articles/physician-ratings-help-patien