Meeting the imperative to improve physician well-being: assessment of an innovative program

J Gen Intern Med. 2007 Nov;22(11):1544-52. doi: 10.1007/s11606-007-0363-5. Epub 2007 Sep 22.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Focus Groups
  • Group Practice / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leadership
  • Oregon
  • Organizational Culture
  • Physician Impairment / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Systems Analysis