Blog | Monday, December 22, 2014

Physician satisfaction in health systems

Recently I wrote this tweet:

Never have a received as many retweets. And this occurred on a Sunday evening.

I was merely channeling this article, “From Triple to Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider.” My tweet was actually an homage to that article. Too often I hear about health systems restructure, often using “consultants,” in a way that frustrates the physician workforce. In 2014, rather than privately owned small practices, most physicians have become employed. This movement while not necessarily bad, does create some risks. Some health systems have seeming disregard for physician working conditions. Physicians respond to unrealistic or inconsiderate practice structures with burnout and anger. Frustrated, distraught physicians provide lower quality care, so patients suffer.

So here is our message. When you are examining scheduling, number of available rooms, work hours, etc., consider how any change will impact your physician and other health care workforce. If you do not monitor physician satisfaction, then you will have an inadequate workforce and spend considerable moneys trying to replace disaffected physicians who leave for greener pastures. And unfortunately patient care will suffer.

db is the nickname for Robert M. Centor, MD, FACP. db stands both for Dr. Bob and da boss. He is an academic general internist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and is the Regional Associate Dean for the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus of UASOM. He still makes inpatient rounds over 100 days each year. This post originally appeared at his blog, db's Medical Rants.