Work Stress among Family Physicians

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2020.0295-0302

german translation / full article

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

Keywords: family medicine health services research occupational stress small-area analysis

BackgroundIn comparison to other industrial countries, family physicians in Germany report that they have many patient contacts and a high workload. Based on the example of family physicians in two Thuringian districts, the following paper presents the impact of potential influencing factors on the number of physician cases as a proxy for workload. MethodsStepwise multiple linear regression analysis of existing billing data from the Thuringia Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians for 2016, and publicly available regional sociodemographic data, were used to evaluate potential influencing factors. Observation units were all family physicians in the Thuringian administrative districts of Gotha and Ilm-Kreis, or located within a radius of 5 kms from the respective border of the district, as of 31.12.2016. ResultsThe family physicians included in the study (n = 545) were an average of 55 years old; 61 % of them were female and 75 % worked as solo physicians. The variables included into the final regression model showed a statistically significant effect on the number of physician cases (α-significance level 5 %; p < 0.001). In adults, the early detection of illnesses had the greatest positive influence on the number of physician cases, followed by house calls and DMP diabetes mellitus type 2. Geographical variables such as the concentration of patients and of persons over 65 years, were also associated with a higher number of physician cases. ConclusionsThe results of our study show that not only features of the practice structure but also regional and sociodemographic characteristics potentially influence the number of physician cases as a proxy for family physicians’ workload. Keywordsfamily medicine, occupational stress, health services research, small-area analysis

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