77% of Physicians Concerned about Disruptive Physician Behavior at their Institutions: QuantiaMD and ACPE Study Finds

WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new study of 840 physicians and physician leaders sheds light on the pressures on today's physicians, the prevalence of disruptive physician behavior and its detrimental effects on patient care. Presented by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) and QuantiaMD, the largest mobile and online physician community, the study found 77% of respondents were concerned about disruptive physician behavior at their organizations. More than 70% of physicians said that disruptive behavior occurs at least once a month at their institutions, while more than 10% said that such incidents occur on a daily basis. A considerable 99% of physicians believe that disruptive behavior ultimately affects patient care. The study can be viewed at http://www.quantiamd.com/q-qcp/QuantiaMD_Whitepaper_ACPE_15May2011.pdf.

"Despite the best efforts of many, and the extremely high level of awareness by physicians that our communication has an impact on patient safety, our profession continues to experience disruptive behavior"

The study, conducted on QuantiaMD, touched upon a host of behaviors from discrimination to substance abuse and even, in the rare case, to physical assault. However, the behaviors physicians are most concerned about include refusal to cooperate with other providers, refusal to follow established protocols, and degrading comments or insults. All of these, along with yelling, are the most widely encountered disruptive behaviors, with over half of the respondents having experienced each one.

The effects of these types of disruptive behaviors were wide-reaching:

  • 60% of respondents said that their organization, practice or department had experienced a patient- or family-written complaint related to disruptive behavior
  • 50% of respondents had patients change physicians or leave the practice due to disruptive behavior
  • 21% of respondents directly attributed an adverse clinical event to a disruptive physician

"Despite the best efforts of many, and the extremely high level of awareness by physicians that our communication has an impact on patient safety, our profession continues to experience disruptive behavior," said Barry Silbaugh, MD, MS, FACPE, Chief Executive Officer, ACPE. "I'm pleased ACPE is working with QuantiaMD to shine new light on this controversial subject and to find new ways to combat it. We want to see physicians lead culture change in health care, so that intimidating behavior is not tolerated anywhere in the organization - from the front lines of patient care to the C-suite."

Encouragingly, more than two-thirds of the respondents believe their organizations have a clear, well-enforced policy and a structured method of reporting disruptive incidents. However, almost one-quarter of respondents did not feel comfortable directly confronting this behavior nor did they feel well-prepared to deal with incidences. Interestingly, responses varied based on gender, with females feeling less comfortable with reporting and confronting disruptive behavior and feeling less prepared to deal with incidences. Seventy-seven percent of respondents felt they needed training and information on how to deal with disruptive behavior.

"There is no single individual more able to influence the culture of a healthcare organization, for better or worse, than a physician," said Michael Paskavitz, Editor in Chief of QuantiaMD. "In the same way that no physician wants to deliver poor care to a patient, they also don't want to deliver care in an environment where a fearful or timid culture lends itself to poor care. They just need to understand their influence over and their responsibility for such a culture. We're pleased to be working with ACPE to support physicians as they work to end these behaviors."

Based on study results and physician feedback, QuantiaMD and ACPE are now creating tools and educational content focusing on systematic frameworks for confronting disruptive behavior, strategies for disciplining that behavior, and ultimately, improving culture and communication to provide a safe, professional environment to provide care. Please see Dr. Silbaugh's presentation, The Cause and Effect of Disruptive Behavior, at https://secure.quantiamd.com/player/wwddsytu.

About QuantiaMD
QuantiaMD® is an online physician-to-physician learning collaborative where 1 in 6 U.S. physicians engage, share, and learn from experts and each other, free of charge. Through any computer, smartphone or mobile device, members visit QuantiaMD daily to engage with respected experts who deliver clinically relevant, unbiased content in a concise, interactive format to fit the busy schedules of today's physicians. QuantiaMD® is a branded service developed and operated by Quantia Communications, Inc., a privately held corporation headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. For more information, visit http://www.quantiamd.com.

QUANTIAMD is a registered trademark of Quantia Communications, Inc. All other product names and references contained herein remain the service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

About ACPE
ACPE is the nation's largest health care organization for physician executives - doctors who hold leadership and management positions. The primary focus of the College is encouraging physicians to assume more active roles in the leadership and management of organizations in the health care industry, and helping to build the skills necessary to succeed in those positions. ACPE offers personalized support to all of its members, including CME courses, an advanced degree program, career counseling and more. ACPE is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and is represented in the American Medical Association's House of Delegates as the specialty society of medical administration.

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