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Health care worker burnout and perceived capacity to address social needs

A. Telzak, E.C. Chambers, D. Gutnick, A. Flattau, J. Chaya, K. McAuliff, B. Rapkin
Popul Health Manag

Health care organizations are increasingly incorporating social care programs into medical care delivery models. Recent studies have identified burnout as a potential unintended consequence of this expansion. Successful implementation of these programs requires investment in the health care team, although understanding the impact of this expansion on nonphysician team members remains limited. Utilizing a theory-informed model for organizational behavior change, the authors aim to characterize the perceived elements of capacity to address patients' social needs within a heterogenous group of health care workers, and to examine the association of these behavioral conditions with burnout. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted of a survey of ∼1900 health care staff from 46 organizations in a large delivery system. Exploratory factor analysis identified factors contributing to the “Perceived Capacity to Address Social Needs” domain; Motivation, Organizational Reinforcement, and 3 task-specific capacities (Identification of social needs, Providing care for patients with social needs, and Linkage to social needs resources). Logistic regression found both a lower sense of motivation (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.59–0.86), and organizational reinforcement (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.42–0.62) associated with a higher rate of burnout. These associations with burnout differed by organizational role, suggesting role-specific relationships between these behavioral conditions. As health care has evolved into team-based interventions, staff across the care spectrum are now tasked with addressing larger social issues that affect their patients. A systems approach, aligning organizational priorities and staff motivations, in addition to task-specific skill sets is likely necessary to prevent burnout in this setting.

Telzak A, Chambers EC, Gutnick D, et al. Health care worker burnout and perceived capacity to address social needs. Popul Health Manag. 2021 Oct 8. doi: 10.1089/pop.2021.0175. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34637633.

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Provider Experience of Care
Social Determinant of Health
Not Specified
Study design
Other Study Design