Physician Mood Linked to Medical Negligence Claim Risk
New research published by scientists at the University of Melbourne in the British medical journal found a link between a doctor’s mood and their risk of being investigated for professional conduct.
Disgruntled or overworked doctors were more likely to be sued for medical negligence, while those working in rural areas were also at high risk of professional investigation.
Researchers analyzed the responses of more than 12,000 doctors to the Medicine in Australia Balancing Employment and Life survey between 2013 and 2018.
The questionnaire included questions on age, personality, health, life satisfaction and working conditions.
Slightly more than one in 20 physicians said they had suffered a medical negligence claim during the study period.
The analysis found that overtime, working at a regional center, and recent personal injury or illness were linked to higher rates of medical negligence claims.
Physicians who performed poorly on life satisfaction or had increasing job demands were also more likely to face lawsuits.
In contrast, physicians who had pleasant personalities were slightly less likely to face a medical negligence claim.
Dr. Owen Bradfield pointed out that identifying risk factors related to professional conduct claims could provide valuable information to employers, regulators and healthcare practitioners caring for sick physicians.
“We need to reduce physician fatigue by addressing long working hours. We also need to create supportive work environments and target interventions that improve overall physician well-being, such as through healthy lifestyles. and a positive psychology program. This could reduce the risk of doctors being sued, and improve patient safety,” he said.