Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, Neurology, UC Davis / 27.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Allison Brashear, M.D., M.B.A. Dean, UC Davis School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Why is the demand for neurology services and neurologists increasing?  Response: The American Academy of Neurology estimates that by 2025 the number of neurologists in practice will increase to 18,060 but some 3,400 more will be needed to meet the demand for their services. The 58% increase in the number of residency positions in the National Resident Matching Program since 2008 also reflects the growing demand. The higher prevalence of neurologic conditions, aging U.S. population and more patients having access to the health care coverage are the major driving forces. (Note: source of NRMP neurology trend data comes from a physician/resident forum posted May 2019 https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/growth-trends-in-neurology-residency-positions.1375918/) MedicalResearch.com: Why is neurology included among the less desirable fields of medicine (similar to nephrology, infectious disease, endocrinology etc.) for medical students and residents to pursue?  Why is burnout and dissatisfaction so high? Response: According to the American Academy of Neurology, a minority of medical students choose to train in neurology each year, with approximately 3.1% matching into a neurology residency in 2018. The newer generations of neurologists value lifestyle and time off work more than their predecessors. According to a recent American Medical Association survey, neurology tied with critical care as the medical specialty with the highest stress levels and burnout. Too many administrative tasks, too many hours at work, increased computerization of practice and insufficient compensation were among the top causes of burnout. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 30.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karina Pereira-Lima, PhD Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor Department of Psychiatry, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Questions regarding the magnitude and direction of the associations between physician depressive symptoms and medical errors remain open in recent literature. By pooling data from 11 studies involving 21,517 physicians, we were able to verify that depressive symptoms among physicians were associated with increased risk of reporting medical errors (RR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.63 – 2.33). (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Electronic Records, Yale / 15.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edward R. Melnick, MD, MHS Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Program Director, Yale-VA Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program Principal Investigator, EMBED Trial Network Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT 06519  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that physicians are frustrated with their EHRs and that EHRs are a driver of burnout. This is the first study to measure these issues nationally. We included a standardized metric of technology from other industries (System Usability Scale, SUS; range 0-100) on the AMA’s 2017 physician burnout survey. This metric has been used in >1300 other studies so we can compare where the EHR’s usability is to other everyday technologies. We are also able to measure the relationship between physicians’ perception of their EHR’s usability and the likelihood they are burned out. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, JAMA / 13.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shannon Ruzycki, MD, MPH, FRCPC, (she/hers) General Internist & Clinical Lecturer Department of Medicine Department of Community Health Sciences Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: After hearing about the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine 2018 report to congress on sexual harassment of women in academia, our Department Head asked myself and Dr. Aleem Bharwani to study experiences of gender inequity or equity in our Department. We conducted an in-depth, 18-month mixed methods study of women and men in our Department, including semi-structured interviews and survey. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety, Stanford / 08.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Tawfik, MD, MS Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Professional burnout is very common among health care providers and is frequently associated with poor quality of care in the published literature. However, we know that reporting biases are common in many fields of literature, and these biases typically result in exaggerated effects being published relative to the true effect. Research on burnout and quality of care appears especially vulnerable, because many studies are not pre-specified or have several potential methods of analysis. If the studies or analyses with more impressive results are more likely to be published, this would result in a skewed picture of the relationship between burnout and quality of care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems / 06.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vivian Ho, PhD The James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics Director of the Center for Health and Biosciences Rice's Baker Institute for Public Policy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2003, approximately 29% of U.S. hospitals employed physicians, a number that rose to 42% by 2012. The share of physician practices owned by hospitals rose from 14% in 2012 to 29% in 2016. Economists refer to these relationships between hospitals and physicians as vertical integration, because they represent hospitals exerting more control over physicians as an essential part of inpatient care. As hospitals gain more control over physicians, they may incentivize delivery of more services but not necessarily higher quality care. When we launched this study, we hypothesized that tighter integration of physicians with hospitals would improve care coordination. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Primary Care, University of Pennsylvania / 11.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Molly Candon PhD Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Lecturer, Department of Health Care Management The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Co-Instructor, Health Services and Policy Research Methods II, MS in Health Policy Research Program, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: A team of researchers (led by Karin Rhodes, MD and Dan Polsky, PhD) conducted a secret shopper study of thousands of primary care practices across 10 states, with trained callers simulating patients with Medicaid and requesting appointments. One of the outcome measures was whether an appointment was scheduled with a physician or Advanced Practitioner. Between 2012 and 2016, the share of appointments scheduled with Advanced Practitioners increased by five percentage points.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records / 02.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ming Tai-Seale, PhD, MPH Professor Department of Family Medicine and Public Health University of California San Diego School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The electronic health record (EHR) potentially creates a 24/7 work environment for physicians. Its impact on physicians’ wellness has become a challenge for most health care delivery organizations. Understanding the relationships between physicians’ well-being and “desktop medicine”1 work in the EHR and work environment is critical if burnout is to be addressed more effectively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, FDA / 06.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephanie L. Kuschel, MD Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis, IN, 46202 Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH Professor of Dermatology and Public Health University of Colorado School of Medicine Colorado School of Public Health Chief, Dermatology Service US Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System Denver, CO 80220  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Physicians can serve as external experts and voting members of FDA advisory committee panels, which help determine if a drug is acceptable for the US market. Considering that financial conflicts of interest (FCOI) have been shown to influence voting member habits, the FDA has regulations in place to minimize these FCOI. However, the FDA can grant waivers for some financially conflicted individuals if they meet certain requirements (like offering key insights that may out-weigh the risk of a possible FCOI). Additionally the FDA does not make stipulations regarding post-advisory role financial relationships. In fact, many former FDA committee advisors later engage in financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies. Some worry these post-hoc financial relationships could pose an ethical dilemma whereby future FDA advisory members are incentivized to alter their voting habits in expectation of future rewards. Others argue the situation may be more complex than expected. For example, the author of one study, found that while there was evidence for a pro-industry voting bias among committee members with exclusive financial relationships to the sponsoring manufacturer (of the drug under review), this was not the case for members with nonexclusive financial ties to both the sponsor and its competitors 1. Furthermore, the author found that advisors with many corporate ties were (on average) actually more likely than their peers without any financial ties to vote against the sponsor. The author argued that these advisors were more likely to be experienced researchers, and their voting habits may reflect their experience evaluating medical research. While this author and others have offered valuable insights into financial relationships of advisors during their advisory role, unfortunately little information is available regarding post-advisory role financial relationships and whether these relationship have any influence on the integrity of the voting process. The purpose of our study was to review Open Payment data on industry payments to former physician FDA dermatologic drug committee members.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Neurology, NYU / 17.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rebecca Stainman Dr. Arielle Kurzweil MD Adult Neurology Program Director New York University School of Medicine NYU Langone Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Physician burnout is prevalent. Neurologists have among the highest burnout rates, ranked third among specialties in a 2011 study, and over half of US Neurologists report at least 1 symptom of burnout in a 2016 survey.  Efforts to address burnout in training programs have mostly been aimed at implementing wellness curricula and offering mental health resources. Training neurology residents to effectively identify, address, and help impaired colleagues is equally crucial in these efforts, yet there is a paucity of literature on this topic. We used simulation as a means of addressing this topic, via identifying and addressing an impaired colleague through an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania / 14.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Genevieve P. Kanter, PhD Assistant Professor (Research) of Medicine Medical Ethics and Health Policy University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Philadelphia, PA  19104-6021 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Physicians frequently have financial relationships with pharmaceutical and medical device firms, but only recently has information on these financial ties been made available to the public. The Open Payments program, created by the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, has made this industry payments information available through a public website since 2014. Because transparent institutions are believed to engender greater public trust, public disclosure of industry payments could increase public trust in the medical profession, which may have been weakened by physicians' relationships with industry. On the other hand, Open Payments may have decreased public trust because of the focus of media reporting on physicians receiving the largest sums of money. We sought to investigate how Open Payments and the public disclosure of industry payments affected public trust in physicians and in the medical profession. We compared changes in trust among patients who lived in states where payments information had, by state statute, previously been made available, to changes in trust among patients who lived in states where this information became newly available through Open Payments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Mental Health Research, UCSF / 31.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina Mangurian, MD MAS Professor Department of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences Center for Vulnerable Populations, University of California, San Francisco Veronica Yank, MD Assistant Professor Division of General Internal Medicine Department of Medicine University of California San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This article is about the behavioral health and burnout consequences among physician mothers who are caring for seriously ill loved ones. Our work was inspired, in part, by some of the authors’ own experiences caring for loved ones with serious illnesses while also being physician mothers themselves.  We sought to determine the proportion of physician mothers with such caregiving responsibilities beyond their patients and children and the how these additional responsibilities affected the women’s health and practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records / 06.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebekah L Gardner MD Associate Professor of Medicine Warren Alpert Medical School Brown University Providence, Rhode Island MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Burnout profoundly affects physicians, their patients, and the health care system.The role of technology in physician burnout, specifically health information technology (HIT), is not as well characterized as some of the other factors. We sought to understand how stress related to HIT use predicts burnout among physicians. Our main findings are that 70% of electronic health record (EHR) users reported HIT-related stress, with the highest prevalence in primary care-oriented specialties. We found that experiencing HIT-related stress independently predicted burnout in these physicians, even accounting for other characteristics like age, gender, and practice type. In particular, those with time pressures for documentation or those doing excessive “work after work” on their EHR at home had approximately twice the odds of burnout compared to physicians without these challenges. We found that physicians in different specialties had different rates of stress and burnout. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 07.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Maria Panagioti, Senior Research Fellow Division of Population Health Health Services Research & Primary Care University of Manchester Manchester  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have shown that the demanding work environment has alarming consequences on the well-being of physicians. Over 50 percent of physicians experience significant signs of burnout across medical specialities. However, the consequences of burnout on patient care are less well-known. This is the largest meta-analysis to date which pooled data from 43,000 doctors to examine the relationship between burnout in physicians and patient safety, professionalism and patient satisfaction. We found that burnout in physicians is associated with two times increased risk for patient safety incidents, reduced professionalism and lower patient satisfaction. Particularly in residents and early career physicians, burnout was associated with almost 4 times increased risk for reduced professionalism.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 23.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brad N. Greenwood PhD Associate Professor Information & Decision Sciences Carlson School of Management University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Minneapolis MN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been growing work in medicine which suggests both that a) women are more skilled physicians across a variety of ailments and b) women are particularly challenging heart attack patients (for a variety of reasons ranging from delays in seeking treatment to atypical presentation). When you coupled this with the deep literatures in economics, sociology, and political science which suggests that advocatees experience better outcomes when they share traits with their advocates, it seemed plausible that there might be differences in outcomes. The key finding is that gender concordance matters most for female patients:  female patients are about 0.7-1.2% more likely to die if treated by a male doctor, relative to a female doctor.  This number seems small.  But, if the survival rate among the female heart attack patients treated by male doctor was the same as the survival rate among female heart attack patients treated by female doctors, about 1,500-3,000 fewer of the female heart attack patients in our sample would have passed away. Our sample covers the state of Florida from 1991-2010.  Florida is about 10% of the US population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 23.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Gruber PhD Department of Economics, E52-434 MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: There is a large literature trying to estimate the extent of 'defensive  medicine' by looking at what happens when it gets harder to sue and/or  you can win less money. But there have been no studies of what happens if you just get rid of the right to sue.  That's what we have with active duty patients treated on a military base. The main finding is that when patients can't sue they are treated about  5% less intensively.  Much of the effect appears to arise from fewer diagnostic tests. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 11.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Tessie W. October. MD, MPH Critical Care Specialist Children’s National Health System  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This is a qualitative study that examines the impact of empathetic statements made by doctors on the ensuing conversation with families of critically ill children. We know families are more satisfied when doctors show empathy, but until this study, we did not know how these empathetic statements are received by families. In this study we found that doctors frequently respond to a family’s emotions by responding with empathy, but how the doctor presented that empathetic statement mattered. When doctors made an empathetic statement, then paused to allow time for a family’s response, the family was 18 times more likely to share additional information about their fears, hopes or values. Conversely, when doctors buried the empathetic statement within medical talk or if a second doctor interrupted, the empathetic statement frequently went unheard by the family. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Pharmaceutical Companies / 23.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vishal Bala Senior Quantitative Data Analyst CareDash MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior research into physicians and their relationships with the pharmaceutical industry has typically retained a narrow scope, focusing on how payments may be associated with prescription habits (sometimes limited to specific regions) for specific categories of drugs. For example, Modi et al. 2017 and Bandari et al. 2017 explored these connections in the context of some urologic drugs specifically. Research conducted by ProPublica in 2016 studied the connection between industry payments and physician prescriptions across some of the largest medical specialties, but was only able to look at “brand-name” vs. “generic” categories and were limited by overlapping timeframes for payments and prescriptions. CareDash took this analysis further by using Open Payments and Medicare Part D data to investigate the relationship between payments made by individual companies for specific drugs and the prescribing habits of the recipient physicians for those drugs. CareDash’s main findings are that healthcare providers who received payments for a drug from a pharmaceutical company are 5 times more likely to be high prescribers for that drug than those physicians who did not receive a payment. Physicians are 5.3 times more likely to prescribe a drug than their peers after they have received a payment for that drug from the manufacturer. When physicians already prescribe a drug significantly more often than their peers, they are 5.6 times more likely to later receive payment for that drug from the drug's manufacturer. Looking at the opioid drug class specifically, CareDash found that physicians receiving payment on behalf of an opioid were 14.5 times more likely to prescribe that opioid over alternatives. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 05.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Doctors” by Tele Jane is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kathryn R. Tringale, MAS Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences University of California San Diego, La Jolla MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Financial relationships between biomedical industry and physicians are common, and previous work has investigated the potential conflicts of interest that can arise from these interactions. Data show that even small payments in the form of industry sponsored lunches can influence physician prescribing patterns. Given the concern for the potential influence of biomedical industry over practice patterns and potentially patient care, the Open Payments program was implemented under the Affordable Care Act to shed light on these interactions and make reports of these financial transactions publicly available. We recently published a paper in JAMA on industry payments to physicians that found that men received a higher value and greater number of payments than women physicians and were more likely to receive royalty or licensing payments when grouped by type of specialty (surgeons, primary care, specialists, interventionalists). The purpose of the Research Letter discussed here was to further examine differences in the value of payments received by male and female physicians within each individual specialty. The main takeaway from this study is that male physicians, across almost every specialty, are receive more money from biomedical industry compared to female physicians. At first glance, this finding can be interpreted as merely another example of gender disparities in the workplace, which we have seen before with gender gaps in physician salaries and research funding. Indeed, this gender gap may be a product of industry bias leading to unequal opportunity for women to engage in these profitable relationships. Alternatively, these data may be more representative of gender differences in physician decision-making. Previous data has shown that industry engagement can lead to changes in practice patterns, so maybe female physicians acknowledge these conflicts of interest and actively choose not to engage with industry. Unfortunately, we cannot tease out these subtleties from our results, but our paper does reveal a remarkable gender difference among physician engagement with industry. With this being said, whether male or female, everyone needs a bit of help sometimes. The use of loans is a possibility for many people who need a little financial assistance. Regardless of whether men are getting paid a little more than women, they may all need help just as equally. The type of loans that would be worth looking into if this is your current situation is physician loans, which basically allows medical professionals to purchase a home with a low/little down payment while avoiding mortgage insurance. A little bit of help goes a long way, especially when it involves your future. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Outcomes & Safety / 21.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management Cambridge, MA 02138 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although evidence has suggested that older physicians may experience a decline in medical knowledge and are less likely to adhere to standard care, patients in general had a perception that older doctors are more experienced and therefore provide superior care. Using a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized for medical conditions in 2011-2014, we found that patients treated by younger doctors have lower 30-day mortality compared to those cared for by older doctors, after adjusting for patient, physician, and hospital characteristics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, University of Pittsburgh / 30.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Neil A. Busis, M.D. University of Pittsburgh Physicians Department of Neurology Chief of Neurology, UPMC Shadyside Director of Community Neurology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies showed that neurologists have both one of the highest rates of burnout and the lowest rates of satisfaction with work-life balance, compared to other physicians. The mission of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is to promote the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care and enhance member career satisfaction. This is why AAN President Dr. Terrence Cascino initiated this research, to better define the issue. Our findings can guide current and future programs to prevent and mitigate neurologist burnout, promote neurologist career satisfaction and well-being, and direct efforts to advocate on behalf of neurologists and their patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety / 17.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle P. Salyers Ph.D. Professor, Psychology Director, Clinical Psychology Program Director, ACT Center of Indiana Affiliated Scientist, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Professional burnout among healthcare providers is receiving more attention in research and in public press. There have long been speculations that the level of burnout may be related to quality of care provided, and many studies have been done linking provider burnout with different aspects of quality of care. This study brings together that literature, to summarize and quantify the link between professional burnout in healthcare provider and the quality of care they provide. We were able to combine data from 82 independent samples, across health care disciplines, settings, and types of quality indicators. We found small to medium relationships between provider burnout and indicators of quality of care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Education, Surgical Research / 22.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Dmitri Alden MD, FACS Surgical Oncologist, specializes in liver cancer, bile duct cancer, metastatic ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer at Lenox Hill Hospital, NY Dr. Alden is an advocate of the role of empathy in medicine and discusses his passion for compassionate care in this interview. Please see his bio and website at http://www.liversurgeryny.com. MedicalResearch.com: Why do you feel that empathy is a vital part of treating a patient? Response: Over the last decade many physicians, patients and other professionals began to recognize that medical care is much more than treatment with medications or an act of surgery. Healing involves pain and suffering and dealing with psychological issues connected to the stress of being taken out of one’s normal life routine. Pain is now considered a “vital sign” and only recently it became mandatory to address it properly and document it in a medical record. Empathy in my opinion is a “vital sign” of any relationship that forms between a patient and a medical professional. When expressed genuinely, it makes a tremendous impact on patient’s overall experience and recovery. MedicalResearch.com: How do you define empathy in regards to medical treatment? Response: Empathy is understanding and true genuine caring. Patients and doctors create a unique and very personal relationship built on trust and “chemistry”. The doctor’s ability to express empathy, step in the patient’s shoes, get to know their life, loves, personal problems and to structure care around this unique individual enhances the patient’s belief in the route of treatment chosen and the doctor’s ability to provide a cure. MedicalResearch.com: Do you feel that the medical system doesn't emphasize empathy enough? Response: Doctors are trained without an emphasis on empathy. They focus on acquiring immense amounts of information that need to be learned during medical school and residency. Emotions are currently left to the side in order to succeed. The end product is often a machine that knows what to do in any medical situation but has difficulty to connect on an emotional level. I feel that empathy is also a very important step towards achieving successful outcomes because a patient will feel more invested in following the doctor's advice if he feels there is compassion and understanding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Lancet, Mayo Clinic / 03.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Colin P. West, MD, PhD, FACP Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Biomedical Statistics and Informatics Departments of Internal Medicine and Health Sciences Research Mayo Clinic MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Physician burnout has reached epidemic levels, as documented in national studies of both physicians in training and practicing physicians demonstrating burnout rates in excess of 50%. Consequences include negative effects on patient care, professionalism, physicians’ own care and safety, and the viability of health-care systems. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to better understand the quality and outcomes of the literature on approaches to prevent and reduce burnout. We identified 2617 articles, of which 15 randomized trials including 716 physicians and 37 cohort studies including 2914 physicians met inclusion criteria. Across interventions, overall burnout rates decreased from 54% to 44%, emotional exhaustion score decreased from 23.82 points to 21.17 points, and depersonalization score decreased from 9.05 to 8.41. High emotional exhaustion rates decreased from 38% to 24% and high depersonalization rates decreased from 38% to 34%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Mental Health Research, University of Michigan / 25.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine J. Gold, MD MSW MS Department of Family Medicine Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation; Depression Center University of Michigan With co-authors Louise B. Andrew MD JD; Edward B. Goldman JD; Thomas L. Schwenk MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is common knowledge that physicians are often hesitant to seek care for mental health concerns. Knowing that female physicians have increased rates of both depression and suicide, we surveyed female physicians who were mothers and who participated in a closed FaceBook group about their mental health, treatment, and opinions about licensing. More than 2100 U.S. physicians responded, representing all specialties and states. Almost half of participants reported that at some point since medical school they had met criteria for a mental illness but didn’t seek treatment. Reasons included feeling like they could get through without help (68%), did not have the time (52%), felt a diagnosis would be embarrassing or shameful (45%), did not want to ever have to report to a medical board or hospital (44%), and were afraid colleagues would find out (39%). Overall, 2/3 identified a stigma-related reason for not seeking help. Almost half reported prior diagnosis or treatment, but just 6% of these women stated they had disclosed this to a state medical board on a licensing application, though states vary on what information they require be disclosed. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ / 06.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Tom Bourne Ph.D., FRCOG, FAIUM (hon). Adjunct Professor, Imperial College, London Visiting Professor, KU Leuven, Belgium Consultant Gynaecologist Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies had suggested that complaint investigations might be associated with psychiatric morbidity – including depression and suicide. For example in the United States, malpractice litigation has been reported to be associated with burnout, depression and suicidal ideation. We had also witnessed in our daily practice both the burden that complaints investigations have on colleagues, but also that doctors were often practicing defensive medicine to “protect themselves”. Against this background we embarked on a large survey study on doctors in the UK – with almost 8000 physicians replying to the survey. This survey contained questions relating to validated psychological instruments for depression and anxiety, new metrics for defensive practice (hedging and avoidance) as well as single item questions. We published these data in 20151. We found that recent or current complaints were associated with significant levels or anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, this was irrespective of the complaints procedure – although this was highest when it involved the main UK regulator the general medical council (GMC). Many doctors reported practising defensive medicine due to a fear of complaints – with over 80% reporting hedging and over 40% reporting avoidance. A number of recommendations were made to improve how complaints procedures might work. In the final part of the questionnaire we asked three open questions, how the complaints procedure made the doctor feel, what was the most stressful aspects of the procedure and what could be done to improve things. It is the analysis of this qualitative data that is presented in the current paper. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ / 15.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sílvia Mamede, MD, PhD Associate professor Institute of Medical Education Research Rotterdam Erasmus MC Rotterdam, The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mamede: Doctors are often engaged in clinical encounters that are emotionally charged. Patients who feel anxious about their problems often respond emotionally in their interaction with their doctors. Most of these encounters fall within the limits of what is to be expected in clinical practice, but some patients behave in ways that make the doctor-patient interaction particularly distressing. Aggressive or disrespectful patients, frequent demanders, patients who don’t trust their doctors’ competence or ever-helpless patients are known, in the medical literature, as “difficult patients”. Doctors have reported to encounter these so-called “difficult patients” in around 15% of the outpatient consultations. As it might be expected, these patients’ behaviors provoke emotional reactions in doctors. The potential negative effect of these reactions on the doctor’s diagnostic accuracy has long been discussed in the medical literature. However, there was no empirical evidence that this happened. We conducted two studies to fill this gap. In the two studies, doctors diagnosed clinical cases that were exactly the same except for the patient’s behaviors. In the first study, we used complex and simple cases. Even though the cases were the same, doctors made 42% more mistakes in disruptive than in non-disruptive patients when the cases were complex, and 6% more mistakes when the cases were simple. In the second study, we used cases deemed to be at an intermediate level of complexity. Doctors made 20% more mistakes in difficult compared to neutral patients. These findings show that disruptive behaviors displayed by patients seem to affect doctors’ reasoning and induce them to make diagnostic errors. The findings of our second study suggest that disruptive behaviors “capture” the doctor’s attention at the expense of attention for the clinically relevant information. We came to this conclusion because when asked to recall the information from a case afterwards, doctors who were confronted with a difficult patient remember more information about the patient’s behaviors and less information of the clinically relevant symptoms than doctors confronted with the natural version of the same patient. Recall of information is considered a measure of the amount of attention given to such information. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 27.08.2015

Juliana Schroeder PhD, Assistant Professor Berkeley Haas Management of Organizations Group University of California at BerkeleyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Juliana Schroeder PhD, Assistant Professor Berkeley Haas Management of Organizations Group University of California at Berkeley Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schroeder: Whereas much research examines how physicians perceive their patients,in this paper we instead study how patients perceive physicians. We propose that patients consider their physicians like personally emotionless “empty vessels:” The higher is individuals’ need for care, the less they value physicians’ traits related to physicians' personal lives (e.g., self-focused emotions) but the more they value physicians’ traits relevant to patient care (e.g., patient-focused emotions). ​In a series of experiments,we show that participants in higher need for care believe their physicians have less personal emotions. That is, they perceive physicians as emotionally "empty" the more they need them. This was true both when we manipulated need for care - for example, by having participants focus on potential medical problems or reminding them they needed to get a medical check-up - and also when we measured it, for example by comparing patients at a medical clinic (high need) to people not at a clinic (low need). (more…)