For physicians, being able to provide high-quality health care is a driver of professional satisfaction, according to a study published online by the RAND Corporation.

Mark W. Friedberg, M.D., M.P.P., and colleagues from the RAND Corporation in Boston, gathered data from 30 physician practices in six states between January and August 2013, and conducted semi-structured interviews with 220 practicing physicians, practice leaders, and other staff to examine professional satisfaction. In addition, 447 physicians within the 30 practices were surveyed to assess dimensions of professional satisfaction and factors that might influence satisfaction.

The researchers found that physicians reported better professional satisfaction when they perceived themselves as providing or their practice facilitating high-quality care. Obstacles to the provision of high-quality care (within the practice or imposed by payers) were a major source of professional dissatisfaction. Physicians generally approved of electronic health records (EHRs) and note their potential to improve patient care and professional satisfaction. However, the current state of EHR technology worsened professional satisfaction, with poor EHR usability, time-consuming data-entry, inefficient and less fulfilling work content, and other problems identified.

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“Many things affect physician professional satisfaction, but a common theme is that physicians describe feeling stressed and unhappy when they see barriers preventing them from providing quality care,” Friedberg said in a statement. “If their perceptions about quality are correct, then solving these problems will be good for both patients and physicians.”