Practice Environments and Job Satisfaction in Patient-Centered Medical Homes

Published in: Annals of Family Medicine, v. 12, no. 4, July/Aug. 2014, p. 331-337

Posted on RAND.org on July 01, 2014

by Shehnaz Alidina, Meredith B. Rosenthal, Eric C. Schneider, Sara J. Singer, Mark W. Friedberg

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Research Question

  1. Do patient-centered medical homes improve job satisfaction?

PURPOSE: We undertook a study to evaluate the effects of medical home transformation on job satisfaction in the primary care setting. METHODS: We collected primary data from 20 primary care practices participating in medical home pilot projects in Rhode Island and Colorado from 2009 to 2011. We surveyed clinicians and staff about the quality of their practice environments (eg, office chaos, communication, difficulties in providing safe, high-quality care) and job satisfaction at baseline and 30 months, and about stress, burnout, and intention to leave at 30 months. We interviewed practice leaders about the impact of pilot project participation. We assessed longitudinal changes in the practice environment and job satisfaction and, in the final pilot year, examined cross-sectional associations between the practice environment and job satisfaction, stress, burnout, and intention to leave. RESULTS: Between baseline and 30 months, job satisfaction improved in Rhode Island (P =.03) but not in Colorado. For both pilot projects, reported difficulties in providing safe, high-quality care decreased (P <.001), but emphasis on quality and the level of office chaos did not change significantly. In cross-sectional analyses, fewer difficulties in providing safe, high-quality care and more open communication were associated with greater job satisfaction. Greater office chaos and an emphasis on electronic information were associated with greater stress and burnout. CONCLUSIONS: Medical home transformations that emphasize quality and open communication while minimizing office chaos may offer the best chances of improving job satisfaction.

Key Findings

  • Medical home pilots in Rhode Island and Colorado had divergent results on job satisfaction: it improved significantly in Rhode Island but decreased in Colorado.
  • The stress of trying to change practice may have outweighed satisfaction about providing higher quality care.
  • Interventions that enable a practice to deliver high quality care but minimize disruption to the office may improve job satisfaction.

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