Primary Care Tasks Associated with Provider Burnout

Findings from a Veterans Health Administration Survey

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine Epub September 2017]. doi: 10.1007/s11606-017-4188-6

Posted on RAND.org on December 07, 2017

by Linda Y. Kim, Danielle E Rose, Lynn Soban, Susan Stockdale, Lisa S. Meredith, Samuel T. Edwards, Christian D. Helfrich, Lisa V. Rubenstein

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Background

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a primary care delivery model predicated on shared responsibility for patient care among members of an interprofessional team. Effective task sharing may reduce burnout among primary care providers (PCPs). However, little is known about the extent to which PCPs share these responsibilities, and which, if any, of the primary care tasks performed independently by the PCPs (vs. shared with the team) are particularly associated with PCP burnout. A better understanding of the relationship between these tasks and their effects on PCP burnout may help guide focused efforts aimed at reducing burnout.

Objective

To investigate (1) the extent to which PCPs share responsibility for 14 discrete primary care tasks with other team members, and (2) which, if any, of the primary care tasks performed by the PCPs (without reliance on team members) are associated with PCP burnout.

Design

Secondary data analysis of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) survey data from two time periods.

Participants

327 providers from 23 VA primary care practices within one VHA regional network.

Main Measures

The dependent variable was PCP report of burnout. Independent variables included PCP report of the extent to which they performed 14 discrete primary care tasks without reliance on team members; team functioning; and PCP-, clinic-, and system-level variables.

Key Results

In adjusted models, PCP reports of intervening on patient lifestyle factors and educating patients about disease-specific self-care activities, without reliance on their teams, were significantly associated with burnout (intervening on lifestyle: b = 4.11, 95% CI = 0.39, 7.83, p = 0.03; educating patients: b = 3.83, 95% CI = 0.33, 7.32, p = 0.03).

Conclusions

Performing behavioral counseling and self-management education tasks without relying on other team members for assistance was associated with PCP burnout. Expanding the roles of nurses and other healthcare professionals to assume responsibility for these tasks may ease PCP burden and reduce burnout.

Research conducted by

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