Work Stress among Family Physicians in two Thuringian Districts

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2019.0112-0118

german translation / full article

Lisa-R. Ulrich, Dorothea Lemke, Antje Erler, Beate S. Müller, Ferdinand M. Gerlach, Anne Dahlhaus

Keywords: effort reward imbalance family practice health services research occupational stress

Background: Physicians are highly vulnerable to work-related stress. This study presents the results of a survey of workload among practice-based family physicians in two Thuringian districts.Methods: In March 2017, a cross-sectional and paper-based survey of all 151 practice-based family physicians in the Thuringian districts of Gotha (n = 85) and Ilm-Kreis (n = 66) was conducted. Their subjective workload was measured using the effort reward imbalance model (ERI). Objective workload was measured for all family physicians using physician fee schedule datasets from 2016 provided by the Thuringian Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV Thüringen). Non-parametric tests were performed to test for a statistically significant difference (α-significance level = 5 %) between survey participants and non-participants.Results: 40 physicians responded (27 %), of which 29 (73 %) exceeded the ERI cut-off value > 1 indicating a high level of distress. In 2016, family physicians participating in our survey had a statistically significant higher overall number of treatment cases as well as treatment cases with chronically ill patients compared to non-participants. Amongst others, there were no differences relating to patient home visits and care for geriatric patients.Conclusions: Our results suggest that measures and strategies should be adopted to reduce physicians’ workload and to enhance the attractiveness of the family physician’s profession at the same time.

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