Doctors’ moods affect patients’ care

January 12th, 2010 - 5:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 12 (ANI): A new Israeli study suggests that a physician’s mood affects the quality of care a patient receives, which includes the number of prescriptions, referrals and lab tests.

According to the research carried out at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), the physician’s mood influences the time he/she spends talking to patients.

Prof. Talma Kushnir from the Department of the Sociology of Health, BGU Faculty of Health Sciences assessed 188 primary physicians in Israel to come up with her findings.

Doctors were asked to rank how their mood had an impact on the time they spent talking to their patients, prescribed medications, sent them to labs or diagnostic tests and referred patients to a specialist.

She found that a good or bad mood affected all five physician behaviours.

When doctors had positive moods, they spoke more to patients, wrote lesser prescriptions, asked for fewer tests and issued fewer referrals.

However, when they were in a bad mood, they did just the opposite.

Prof Kushnir said: “The finding that on bad mood 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.”

Prof Kushnir recently presented the findings of her study “Communicating with Patients, Prescribing Medications and Referring to Tests and Specialists: Associations with Physician Burnout and Moods” at the 14th International Conference of the Israel National Institute for Health Policy. (ANI)

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