Physicians' moods affect quality of care: study

Jan 11, 2010

A new study by a researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) reveals that physicians' moods impact the number of prescriptions, referrals and lab tests ordered, as well as the amount of time they spend talking with their patients.

The findings of the study "Communicating with Patients, Prescribing Medications and Referring to Tests and Specialists: Associations with Physician Burnout and Moods" were recently presented at the 14th International Conference of the Israel National Institute for by Prof. Talma Kushnir, Department of the Sociology of Health, BGU Faculty of Health Sciences.

Prof. Kushnir surveyed 188 primary physicians in Israel to determine whether doctors changed their professional behavior on good mood days, as well as days when they felt stressed, tired or anxious. Physicians' burnout levels were also assessed. The study asked doctors to rank how their mood affected the extent they talked to patients, prescribed medications, sent them to lab or diagnostic tests and referred patients to a specialist.

Her findings show that a good or bad mood affected all five physician behaviors. On days the doctors felt positive moods, they spoke more to patients, wrote fewer prescriptions, ordered fewer tests and issued fewer referrals. However, when doctors were in a bad mood, they did the opposite. Additionally, if the physicians' burnout level was higher, their moods more strongly impacted their behaviors.

"The finding that on days physicians tend to talk less, and may needlessly prescribe and refer more than on good mood days, implies that negative moods may be detrimental to quality and costly to healthcare systems," says Prof. Kushnir. Conversely, positive moods that have the opposite effects may help contain costs."

Explore further: Preterm children's brains can catch up years later

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People who wear rose-colored glasses see more, study shows

Jun 03, 2009

A University of Toronto study provides the first direct evidence that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience suggesting that seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses is ...

The mood of the Internet

Apr 14, 2006

Dutch researcher Maarten de Rijke and his co-workers Gilad Mishne and Krisztian Balog have developed a new programme that can trace and explain significant changes in mood patterns on the Internet. MoodViews ...

Bad mood, better recall, researchers find

Apr 11, 2009

People grumbling their way through the grimness of winter have better recall than those enjoying a carefree, sunny day, Australian researchers have found.

Recommended for you

Preterm children's brains can catch up years later

4 hours ago

There's some good news for parents of preterm babies – latest research from the University of Adelaide shows that by the time they become teenagers, the brains of many preterm children can perform almost as well as those ...

Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold

5 hours ago

Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown that death rates rise in association with extremely hot weather. The heat wave in Western Europe in the summer of 2003, for example, resulted in about 22,000 extra deaths. A team ...

User comments : 0