Delivering quality patient care key to physician satisfaction, study finds

December 10, 2013

Delivering quality patient care key to physician satisfaction, study finds

Physicians’ are most satisfied with their jobs when they believe their practice is delivering high-quality care to patients, according to a study conducted by the RAND Corporation on for the American Medical Association (AMA).

Researchers gathered data from 30 physician practices in six states using both surveys and interviews. They identified several factors that get in the way of delivering that high-quality care:

Quantity vs. Quality: The study found that finding balance between quality and quantity was key to whether a physician was satisfied.

“Physicians, especially those in primary care, were frustrated when demands for greater quantity of care limited the time they could spend with each patient, detracting from the quality of care in some cases.”

Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems: EHRs were considered a major contributor to dissatisfaction.

“Physicians approved of EHRs in concept and appreciated having better ability to remotely access patient information and improvements in quality of care,” the study says. “However, for many physicians, the current state of EHR technology significantly worsened professional satisfaction in multiple ways.”

The ways EHRs contributed to dissatisfaction included:  Poor usability, time-consuming data entry, interference with face-to-face patient care, and inability to exchange health information.

Importance of income stability: While most physicians reported satisfaction with their income levels, they said that income stability is very important to high levels of satisfaction.

“Payment arrangements that were perceived as fair, transparent, and aligned with good patient care enhanced professional satisfaction,” the study says.

Regulatory burden: The cumulative burden of adhering to multiple regulations hurt physician satisfaction. The regulatory issue that physicians identified as a source of dissatisfaction was EHR meaningful use requirements.