Background: A high proportion of the US primary care workforce reports burnout, which is associated with negative consequences for clinicians and patients. Many protective factors from burnout are characteristics of patient-centered medical home (PCMH) models, though even positive organizational transformation is often stressful. The existing literature on the effects of PCMH on burnout is limited, with most findings based on small-scale demonstration projects with data collected only among physicians, and the results are mixed.
Objective: To determine if components of PCMH related to team-based care were associated with lower burnout among primary care team members participating in a national medical home transformation, the VA Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT).
Design: Web-based, cross-sectional survey and administrative data from May 2012.
Participants: A total of 4,539 VA primary care personnel from 588 VA primary care clinics.
Main measures: The dependent variable was burnout, and the independent variables were measures of team-based care: team functioning, time spent in huddles, team staffing, delegation of clinical responsibilities, working to top of competency, and collective self-efficacy. We also included administrative measures of workload and patient comorbidity.
Key results: Overall, 39 % of respondents reported burnout. Participatory decision making (OR 0.65, 95 % CI 0.57, 0.74) and having a fully staffed PACT (OR 0.79, 95 % CI 0.68, 0.93) were associated with lower burnout, while being assigned to a PACT (OR 1.46, 95 % CI 1.11, 1.93), spending time on work someone with less training could do (OR 1.29, 95 % CI 1.07, 1.57) and a stressful, fast-moving work environment (OR 4.33, 95 % CI 3.78, 4.96) were associated with higher burnout. Longer tenure and occupation were also correlated with burnout.
Conclusions: Lower burnout may be achieved by medical home models that are appropriately staffed, emphasize participatory decision making, and increase the proportion of time team members spend working to the top of their competency level.