Research has shown that a physician’s experience of stress in a clinical setting has wide spread effects on the patient, hospital, and themselves.
Physicians undergoing high levels of stress are more likely to change jobs, place less emphasis on teamwork, have higher burnout rates, and report less practice autonomy. Even more significantly, physicians who work in “chaotic settings” have higher rates of medical errors, and make fewer attempts to give patients information and access to preventative services. Multitasking has also been shown to have detrimental effects on task completion and efficiency. Interruptions are especially problematic, some studies have shown an increased rate of non-resumption of tasks, workflow changes, and an increase medication errors.
The unfortunate reality of the medicine is that many of the stressors and interruptions are inevitable and unavoidable. Thus, efforts to identify modifiable factors and minimize physician errors would play a significant role in mitigating the negative effects of stress and interruptions in dynamic and unpredictable situations. The enumeration and analysis of stress factors will also help identify the methods to modify the negative aspects of the practice of medicine in the real world setting.
Perez HR, Beyrouty M, Bennett K, Baier Manwell L, Brown RL, Linzer M, Schwartz MD. Chaos in the Clinic: Characteristics and Consequences of Practices Perceived as Chaotic. J Healthc Qual. 2015 Nov 12.