Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 1544–1552

Meeting the Imperative to Improve Physician Well-being: Assessment of an Innovative Program

  • Patrick M. Dunn
  • Bengt B. Arnetz
  • John F. Christensen
  • Louis Homer
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-007-0363-5

Cite this article as:
Dunn, P.M., Arnetz, B.B., Christensen, J.F. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2007) 22: 1544. doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0363-5



Improving physician health and performance is critical to successfully meet the challenges facing health systems that increasingly emphasize productivity. Assessing long-term efficacy and sustainability of programs aimed at enhancing physician and organizational well-being is imperative.


To determine whether data-guided interventions and a systematic improvement process to enhance physician work-life balance and organizational efficacy can improve physician and organizational well-being.


From 2000 to 2005, 22–32 physicians regularly completed 3 questionnaires coded for privacy. Results were anonymously reported to physicians and the organization. Data-guided interventions to enhance physician and organizational well-being were built on physician control over the work environment, order in the clinical setting, and clinical meaning.


Questionnaires included an ACP/ASIM survey on physician satisfaction, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and the Quality Work Competence (QWC) survey.


Emotional and work-related exhaustion decreased significantly over the study period (MBI, p = 0.002; QWC, p = 0.035). QWC measures of organizational health significantly improved initially and remained acceptable and stable during the rest of the study.


A data-guided program on physician well-being, using validated instruments and process improvement methods, enhanced physician and organizational well-being. Given the increases in physician burnout, organizations are encouraged to urgently create individual and systems approaches to lessen burnout risk.


physician satisfaction organizational behavior health care administration 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick M. Dunn
    • 1
  • Bengt B. Arnetz
    • 2
    • 3
  • John F. Christensen
    • 1
  • Louis Homer
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of MedicineLegacy Health SystemPortlandPortlandUSAUSA
  2. 2.Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health SciencesWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Division of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Legacy Clinical Research and Technology InstituteLegacy Health SystemPortlandUSA

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