Healthcare Staffing Report: Oct. 17, 2013

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Care quality drives doctor satisfaction, but EMR is concern

Being able to provide high-quality healthcare is a primary driver of job satisfaction for physicians, and obstacles to quality patient care are a source of stress, according to a study by RAND Corporation that was sponsored by the American Medical Association.

The study also found that physicians believe electronic health record system in place today are cumbersome and an important contributor to dissatisfaction.

“Many things affect physician professional satisfaction, but a common theme is that physicians describe feeling stressed and unhappy when they see barriers preventing them for providing quality care,” Dr. Mark Friedberg, the study’s lead author, said in a press release.

Physicians surveyed expressed concern that current electronic health record technology interferes with face-to-face discussions with patients, requires too much time performing clerical work and degrades the accuracy of medical records by encouraging template-generated notes, according to the report. They also worry that the systems are unable to “talk” to each other and are more costly than expected.

Medical practices reported experimenting with ways to reduce physician frustration such as employing additional staff to perform tasks involved in using electronic medical records.

It also found doctors in physician-owned practices or partnerships were more likely to be satisfied than those owned by hospitals or corporations.

However, it did not identify healthcare reform as having a positive or negative affect on physician satisfaction.

The findings in the report are based on information from 30 physician practices in six states — Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. RAND researches visited each practice to conduct in-depth interview with 220 physicians, medical administrators and allied health professionals.

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