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Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 1544–1552 | Cite as

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

Abstract

BACKGROUND

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.

OBJECTIVE

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.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS

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.

MEASUREMENTS

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

RESULTS

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.

KEY WORDS

physician satisfaction organizational behavior health care administration 

Notes

Acknowledgement

We thank Jennifer Basada for her dedication to the overall coordination and management of the Legacy Clinic Physician Well-Being Program. We also thank Charlene Tucker for her help in manuscript preparation. Finally, we thank Jonathan Avery for his guidance in developing the program; Malcolm McAninch, John Teller, Gwen Grewe, and Marylee Morris for the implementation; and Keith Marton and Stephen R. Jones for critically reviewing the manuscript and for encouraging a nurturing environment to enhance physician health and well-being.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest

QWC is a commercial product marketed and sold by the Sweden-based company Springlife AB, Bengt B. Arnetz is a majority owner of this company.

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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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