Physician Satisfaction and Physician Well-Being: Should Anyone Care?
We present a model of hypothesized relationships between physician satisfaction, physician well-being and the quality of care, in addition to a review of relevant literature. The model suggests that physicians who are stressed, burned out, depressed, and/or have poor self-care are more likely to be dissatisfied, and vice-versa. Both poor physician well-being and physician dissatisfaction are hypothesized to lead to diminished physician concentration, effort, empathy, and professionalism. This results in misdiagnoses and other medical errors, a higher rate of inappropriate referrals and prescriptions, lower patient satisfaction and adherence to physician recommendations, and worse physician performance in areas not observed by others. Research to date largely supports the model, but high quality studies are few. Research should include studies that are prospective, larger, and have a stronger analytic design, ideally including difference in differences analyses comparing quality of care for patients of physicians who become dissatisfied to those who remain satisfied, and vice versa.
Keywords: physician satisfaction, physician dissatisfaction, quality of care, physician well-being, physician burnout
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