Physicians in practices focused on quality improvement are less likely to be dissatisfied and stressed

Research Activities, January 2010, No. 353

Physicians who perceive problems with quality in their practices are more likely to be dissatisfied, feel isolated, and be stressed. On the other hand, physicians whose practices are actively engaged in quality improvement (QI) efforts are less likely to report such problems, reveals a new study. Researchers surveyed a random sample of 1,345 physicians in Massachusetts. All were mailed an 8-page survey that asked questions about demographics, the nature of their practice, their perceptions about care quality at their practice, and their engagement in QI activities.

Most of the physicians surveyed (85 percent) reported that QI activities were part of their practice. However, 33 percent indicated that their practices were experiencing problems with quality of care. Only 15 percent of physicians engaging in QI activities reported feeling isolated compared with 40 percent of physicians who did not engage in these activities. Those physicians who admitted to having quality problems had greater levels of work-life stress than those who did not (34 vs. 24 percent).

These physicians were also more likely to be dissatisfied than physicians who reported fewer quality problems in their practice (31 vs. 19 percent). QI activities and evaluation, and having systems in place to prevent errors were all associated with lower levels of physician dissatisfaction. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS15397).

See "The relationship between perceived practice quality and quality improvement activities and physician practice dissatisfaction, professional isolation, and work-life stress," by Mariah A. Quinn, M.D., Allison Wilcox, B.A., E. John Orav, Ph.D., and others in the August 2009 Medical Care 47(8), pp. 924-928.

Current as of January 2010
Internet Citation: Physicians in practices focused on quality improvement are less likely to be dissatisfied and stressed: Research Activities, January 2010, No. 353. January 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jan10/0110RA9.html