Pereira-Lima K, Mata DA, & others
JAMA Netw Open. 2019; 2(11):e1916097
Importance Depression is highly prevalent among physicians and has been associated with increased risk of medical errors. However, questions regarding the magnitude and temporal direction of these associations remain open in recent literature.
Objective To provide summary relative risk (RR) estimates for the associations between physician depressive symptoms and medical errors.
Conclusions and Relevance Results of this study suggest that physicians with a positive screening for depressive symptoms are at higher risk for medical errors. Further research is needed to evaluate whether interventions to reduce physician depressive symptoms could play a role in mitigating medical errors and thus improving physician well-being and patient care.
From the Discussion
Studies have recommended the addition of physician well-being to the Triple Aim of enhancing the patient experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care. Results of the present study endorse the Quadruple Aim movement by demonstrating not only that medical errors are associated with physician health but also that physician depressive symptoms are associated with subsequent errors. Given that few physicians with depression seek treatment and that recent evidence has pointed to the lack of organizational interventions aimed at reducing physician depressive symptoms, our findings underscore the need for institutional policies to remove barriers to the delivery of evidence-based treatment to physicians with depression.