Depression in Docs Leads to Medical Errors and Vice Versa

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Hadeel Abdelkariem, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Hadeel Abdelkariem

    Hadeel Abdelkariem Golden Member

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    Depressive symptoms in physicians are linked to self-perceived medical errors and vice versa, new research shows.

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    Results of the systematic review and meta-analysis show that physicians with depressive symptoms are 95% more likely to report making medical errors. The analysis also showed that doctors who made medical errors are 67% more likely to report subsequent depressive symptoms.

    "When you consider that depressive symptoms are preventable and treatable and that medical errors cost millions of dollars to the healthcare system every year, our findings suggest that supporting the well-being of physicians is not only important for them, but also for their patients. It also makes financial sense," study investigator Karina Pereira-Lima, PhD, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, told Medscape and Medical News.

    The findings were published online November 27 in JAMA Network Open.

    Impact on Quality of Care
    Depression is highly prevalent among physicians and has previously been associated with an increased risk of medical errors, the investigators note. However, they add that the magnitude and the relationship between the two phenomena remains unclear.

    In other words, does depression in physicians lead to the perception that they are making medical errors, or do medical errors lead to depression?

    To investigate the researchers analyzed data from 11 studies — seven longitudinal and four cross-sectional — which included a total of 21,517 physicians. Nine studies were carried out in the United States, one in Japan, and one in South Korea.

    Eight studies included only physicians in training. The remainder included physicians from any career level. Seven studies recruited physicians from multiple specialties, whereas four recruited physicians from a single specialty — one in pediatric residents, one in anesthesiology residents, and two in internal medicine residents.

    Eight studies inquired about "major medical errors" in the past 3 months, two inquired about errors in the past year, and one actively surveyed errors in a 1-month interval.

    "Major medical error" could refer to those that had patient or healthcare system consequences, said Pereira-Lima.

    Research suggests that there's a "very strong correlation" between self-reported and objective measure of medical errors, although this needs to be further investigated, she added.

    The pooled relative risk (RR) of medical errors among physicians with depressive symptoms was 1.95 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.63 - 2.33).

    The magnitude of the association was generally consistent across studies that assessed practicing physicians and those in training.

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