Report: Medical home employees have high morale, levels of job satisfaction
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) delivery model is expected to coordinate and improve the quality of care, but little research has investigated the effects of the PCMH on provider and support staff morale, according to a report published Jan. 9 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. To learn how they feel, researchers surveyed employees of healthcare organizations with PCMH-like characteristics and received positive overall responses.

“The PCMH may be important for health centers to provide quality care in a complex evolving environment, but success and sustainability are dependent on provider and staff buy-in to the model,” wrote lead author Sarah E. Lewis, MS, who was a faculty member at the University of Chicago during the investigation and is currently a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

General survey questions were designed to grade provider and staff morale, satisfaction and burnout. Additional questions were designed to grade provider and staff morale, satisfaction and burnout across five PCMH subscales: access to care and communication with patients, communication with other providers, tracking data, care management and quality improvement.

Researchers mailed surveys to 391 providers and 382 clinical staff members, such as nurses, behavioral health specialists and educators, from 65 clinics participating in the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, a demonstration project initiated jointly by the Commonwealth Fund, Qualis Health and the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation. They received 603 completed surveys.

In response to three multiple choice questions that focused specifically on morale, job satisfaction and burnout, the largest group of respondents graded their morale as good (32.8 percent), agreed that they were satisfied with their jobs (53.7) and said, “occasionally I am under stress at work, but I don’t feel burned out” (49.5).

When subscale questions were considered, researchers determined that PCMH-like clinics receiving high grades for quality improvement and access to care and communication were most likely to employ providers and staff with high morale and high degrees of job satisfaction.

Despite responses to the general survey questions that may indicate otherwise, when responses to all subscale questions were considered, researchers determined that providers in PCMH-like clinics still experience a risk of burnout.

Based on survey responses, researchers concluded that, “Overall, our study showed that the PCMH model may be promising for improving provider and staff morale and job satisfaction, but indicated that provider burnout must be monitored.”