Patient-centered medical home employees satisfied but risk burnout

Providers and staff at patient-centered medical homes have high levels of morale and job satisfaction, but they also have a risk of burnout, according to a new study published Thursday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

With the trend toward patient-centered medical homes, researchers examined how employees react to the delivery model, asking them about access to care and communication with patients, communication with other providers, tracking data, care management and quality improvement, according to Cardiovascular Business. Researchers looked at more than 600 survey respondents of nurses, behavioral health specialists and educators from 65 clinics participating in the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, a demonstration project initiated by the Commonwealth Fund, Qualis Health and the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation.

More than half of survey respondents (53.7 percent) said they were satisfied with their jobs and about a third (32.8 percent) graded their morale as good. Less than half (49.5 percent) said, "occasionally I am under stress at work, but I don't feel burned out."

While the industry looks at the medical home approach to coordinate and improve quality care, the study offers insight into how front-line staff are reacting to the model.

"The PCMH may be important for health centers to provide quality care in a complex evolving environment, but success and sustainability are dependent on provider and staff buy-in to the model," said lead author Sarah E. Lewis, former faculty member at the University of Chicago and now a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Researchers continued, "Overall, our study showed that the PCMH model may be promising for improving provider and staff morale and job satisfaction, but indicated that provider burnout must be monitored."

To learn more:
- read the study abstract
- here's the Cardiovascular Business article
- check out the Commonwealth Fund news brief

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