Study: Physician's mood affects care

February 19, 2010

Physicians' moods affect number of prescriptions, referrals and lab tests ordered, as well as amount of time spent talking with patients, a new study shows.

Physicians' moods affect the number of prescriptions, referrals, and lab tests ordered, as well as the amount of time they spend talking with their patients, according to a study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

The study surveyed 188 primary care physicians in Israel. On days the doctors reported positive moods, they spoke more to patients, wrote fewer prescriptions, ordered fewer tests, and issued fewer referrals. When doctors were in a bad mood, they did the opposite. Additionally, if the physicians' burnout level was higher, then their moods more strongly affected their behaviors.