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New Study Of Healthcare Organizational Culture Reveals Substantial Gaps Between Physician Satisfaction And Organizational Performance

A new Physician Wellness Services and Cejka Search study found substantial gaps between physicians’ satisfaction and experience with key cultural attributes in their healthcare organizations. The study explored the influence of 14 cultural attributes on physicians’ overall satisfaction, and their perceptions about their organization’s performance related to those cultural attributes.

A companion study of hospital administrators found that while they have a reasonably good sense of what is important to physicians’ satisfaction in terms of organizational culture, administrators consistently feel their organizations perform better with regard to cultural attributes than physicians think the organizations perform.

“The study clearly shows areas of disconnect between what physicians look for and what they find – and what organizations think they provide,” said Dan Whitlock, M.D., Physician Wellness Services consulting physician. “In our work with physicians and healthcare organizations, we find that this often leads to dissatisfaction, frustration and cynicism, sometimes with behavioral impacts. At a time when physician engagement is of paramount importance and healthcare organizations seek to promote satisfaction and loyalty, closing these organizational culture gaps can have a strong positive impact.”

“Cultural fit is a determining factor in a physician’s decision to join – or leave – a practice,” said David Cornett, Senior Executive Vice President of Cejka Search. “Because turnover and prolonged physician vacancy can cost a practice as much as $100,000 per month, organizations can achieve significant returns by investing in the assessment and cultivation of cultural fit.”

“I just switched organizations for all the reasons your survey is focusing on,” said a physician respondent. “Thanks for helping me see the words and themes which prompted me to seek out a new job and my subsequent satisfaction with my new organization.”

High/Low Ranking Attributes and Gap Areas

A patient-centered care focus is by far the most important cultural attribute to physicians, the study found. This attribute also had one of the smallest gaps between physicians’ expectations and how well they believe their organizations address the attribute, indicating greater congruence on this important core attribute.

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