Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Medical negligence claims and the health and life satisfaction of Australian doctors: a prospective cohort analysis of the MABEL survey
    Bradfield, OM ; Bismark, M ; Scott, A ; Spittal, M (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between medical negligence claims and doctors' self-rated health and life satisfaction. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Registered doctors practising in Australia who participated in waves 4 to 11 of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal survey between 2011 and 2018. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-rated health and self-rated life satisfaction. RESULTS: Of the 15 105 doctors in the study, 885 reported being named in a medical negligence claim. Fixed-effects linear regression analysis showed that both self-rated health and self-rated life satisfaction declined for all doctors over the course of the MABEL survey, with no association between wave and being sued. However, being sued was not associated with any additional declines in self-rated health (coef.=-0.02, 95% CI -0.06 to 0.02, p=0.39) or self-rated life satisfaction (coef.=-0.01, 95% CI -0.08 to 0.07, p=0.91) after controlling for a range of job factors. Instead, we found that working conditions and job satisfaction were the strongest predictors of self-rated health and self-rated life satisfaction in sued doctors. In analyses restricted to doctors who were sued, we observed no changes in self-rated health (p=0.99) or self-rated life satisfaction (p=0.59) in the years immediately following a claim. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to prior overseas cross-sectional survey studies, we show that medical negligence claims do not adversely affect the well-being of doctors in Australia when adjusting for time trends and previously established covariates. This may be because: (1) prior studies failed to adequately address issues of causation and confounding; or (2) legal processes governing medical negligence claims in Australia cause less distress compared with those in other jurisdictions. Our findings suggest that the interaction between medical negligence claims and poor doctors' health is more complex than revealed through previous studies.
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    Prevalence of burnout among GPs: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    Karuna, C ; Palmer, V ; Scott, A ; Gunn, J (ROYAL COLL GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, 2022-02-21)
    BACKGROUND: Burnout is a work-related syndrome documented to have negative consequences for GPs and their patients. AIM: To review the existing literature concerning studies published up to December 2020 on the prevalence of burnout among GPs in general practice, and to determine GP burnout estimates worldwide. DESIGN AND SETTING: Systematic literature search and meta-analysis. METHOD: Searches of CINAHL Plus, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Scopus were conducted to identify published peer-reviewed quantitative empirical studies in English up to December 2020 that have used the Maslach Burnout Inventory - Human Services Survey to establish the prevalence of burnout in practising GPs (that is, excluding GPs in training). A random-effects model was employed. RESULTS: Wide-ranging prevalence estimates (6% to 33%) across different dimensions of burnout were reported for 22 177 GPs across 29 countries were reported for 60 studies included in this review. Mean burnout estimates were: 16.43 for emotional exhaustion; 6.74 for depersonalisation; and 29.28 for personal accomplishment. Subgroup and meta-analyses documented that country-specific factors may be important determinants of the variation in GP burnout estimates. Moderate overall burnout cut-offs were found to be determinants of the variation in moderate overall burnout estimates. CONCLUSION: Moderate to high GP burnout exists worldwide. However, substantial variations in how burnout is characterised and operationalised has resulted in considerable heterogeneity in GP burnout prevalence estimates. This highlights the challenge of developing a uniform approach, and the importance of considering GPs' work context to better characterise burnout.
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    General Practice Statistics in Australia: Pushing a Round Peg into a Square Hole
    Gordon, J ; Britt, H ; Miller, GC ; Henderson, J ; Scott, A ; Harrison, C (MDPI, 2022-02-01)
    In Australia, general practice forms a core part of the health system, with general practitioners (GPs) having a gatekeeper role for patients to receive care from other health services. GPs manage the care of patients across their lifespan and have roles in preventive health care, chronic condition management, multimorbidity and population health. Most people in Australia see a GP once in any given year. Draft reforms have been released by the Australian Government that may change the model of general practice currently implemented in Australia. In order to quantify the impact and effectiveness of any implemented reforms in the future, reliable and valid data about general practice clinical activity over time, will be needed. In this context, this commentary outlines the historical and current approaches used to obtain general practice statistics in Australia and highlights the benefits and limitations of these approaches. The role of data generated from GP electronic health record extractions is discussed. A methodology to generate high quality statistics from Australian general practice in the future is presented.
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    Australia's superior skilled migration outcomes compared with Canada's
    Harrap, B ; Hawthorne, L ; Holland, M ; McDonald, JT ; Scott, A (WILEY, 2021-11-26)
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    Association between telehealth use and general practitioner characteristics during COVID-19: findings from a nationally representative survey of Australian doctors
    Scott, A ; Bai, T ; Zhang, Y (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To investigate factors associated with the use of telehealth by general practitioners (GPs) during COVID-19. DESIGN: A nationally representative longitudinal survey study of Australian doctors analysed using regression analysis. SETTING: General practice in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. PARTICIPANTS: 448 GPs who completed both the 11th wave (2018-2019) of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) Survey and the MABEL COVID-19 Special Online Survey (May 2020). OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of all consultations delivered via telephone (audio) or video (audiovisual); proportion of telehealth consultations delivered via video. RESULTS: 46.1% of GP services were provided using telehealth in early May 2020, with 6.4% of all telehealth consultations delivered via video. Higher proportions of telehealth consultations were observed in GPs in larger practices compared with solo GPs: between +0.21 (95% CI +0.07 to +0.35) and +0.28 (95% CI +0.13 to +0.44). Greater proportions of telehealth consultations were delivered through video for GPs with appropriate infrastructure and for GPs with more complex patients: +0.10 (95% CI +0.04 to +0.16) and +0.04 (95% CI +0.00 to +0.08), respectively. Lower proportions of telehealth consultations were delivered via video for GPs over 55 years old compared with GPs under 35 years old: between -0.08 (95% CI -0.02 to -0.15) and -0.15 (95% CI -0.07 to -0.22), and for GPs in postcodes with a higher proportion of patients over 65 years old: -0.005 (95% CI -0.001 to -0.008) for each percentage point increase in the population over 65 years old. CONCLUSIONS: GP characteristics are strongly associated with patterns of telehealth use in clinical work. Infrastructure support and relative pricing of different consultation modes may be useful policy instruments to encourage GPs to deliver care by the most appropriate method.
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    Unprofessional behaviour in Australian hospitals.
    Scott, A ; Hills, D (Australasian Medical Publishing Company, 2021-01-01)
    Inappropriate behaviour harms health workers and patients, and evidence-based solutions are needed.
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    Is the evidence on the effectiveness of pay for performance schemes in healthcare changing? Evidence from a meta-regression analysis
    Zaresani, A ; Scott, A (BMC, 2021-02-24)
    Background: This study investigated if the evidence on the success of the Pay for Performance (P4P) schemes in healthcare is changing as the schemes continue to evolve by updating a previous systematic review. Methods: A meta-regression analysis using 116 studies evaluating P4P schemes published between January 2010 to February 2018. The effects of the research design, incentive schemes, use of incentives, and the size of the payment to revenue ratio on the proportion of statically significant effects in each study were examined. Results: There was evidence of an increase in the range of countries adopting P4P schemes and weak evidence that the proportion of studies with statistically significant effects have increased. Factors hypothesized to influence the success of schemes have not changed. Studies evaluating P4P schemes which made payments for improvement over time, were associated with a lower proportion of statistically significant effects. There was weak evidence of a positive association between the incentives’ size and the proportion of statistically significant effects. Conclusion: The evidence on the effectiveness of P4P schemes is evolving slowly, with little evidence that lessons are being learned concerning the design and evaluation of P4P schemes.
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    Loss aversion, reference dependence and diminishing sensitivity in choice experiments
    Scott, A ; Witt, J (Elsevier, 2020-12-01)
    This paper tests for the existence of loss aversion, reference dependence and diminishing sensitivity in a discrete choice experiment (DCE). A status quo alternative is introduced in a DCE of nurses' job choices and modeled as an individual-specific third alternative representing the respondent's current job. This provides a feasible method for including a status quo, which changes the reference point for each respondent. The increased salience of the status quo changes the size of any losses or gains when comparing Job A or Job B with their current situation, and since losses are valued more than gains, affects the marginal utility of each attribute. Models that differentially incorporate loss aversion, reference dependence and changes in sensitivity yield varying estimates of marginal rates of substitution, suggesting that consideration of these effects is important, particularly when policy implications are sought.
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    The impact of price transparency on consumers and providers: A scoping review
    Zhang, A ; Prang, K-H ; Devlin, N ; Scott, A ; Kelaher, M (Elsevier, 2020-08-01)
    Escalating levels of healthcare spending and price variation in the healthcare market have driven government and insurer interest in price transparency tools that are intended to help consumers shop for services and reduce overall healthcare spending. However, it is unclear whether the objectives of price transparency are being achieved. We conducted a scoping review to synthesize the impact of price transparency on consumer, provider, and purchaser behaviours and outcomes. Price transparency tools had weak impact overall on consumers due to low uptake, and mixed effects on providers. Price-aware patients chose less costly services that led to out-of-pocket cost savings and savings for health insurers; however, these savings did not translate into reductions in aggregate healthcare spending. Disclosure of list prices had no effect, however disclosure of negotiated prices prompted supply-side competition which led to decreases in prices for shoppable services.
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    Does digital health technology improve physicians' job satisfaction and work-life balance? A cross-sectional national survey and regression analysis using an instrumental variable
    Zaresani, A ; Scott, A (BMJ Journals, 2020-01-01)
    Objectives To examine the association between physicians’ use of digital health technology and their job satisfaction and work–life balance. Design A cross-sectional nationally representative survey of physicians and probit regression models were used to examine the association between using digital health technology and the probability of reporting high job satisfaction and a good work–life balance. Models included a rich set of covariates, including physicians’ personality traits, and instrumental variable analysis was used to control for bias from unobservable confounders and reverse causality. Setting Clinical practice settings in Australia, including physicians working in primary care, hospitals, outpatient settings, and physicians working in the public and private sectors. Participants Respondents to wave 11 (2018–2019) of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal survey of doctors. The analysis sample included a broadly nationally representative sample of 7043 physicians, including general practitioners, specialists and physicians in training. Primary and secondary outcome measures The proportion of respondents who used any digital health technology; proportion answered ‘moderately satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ to the statement on job satisfaction: ‘Taking everything into account, how do you feel about your work’; proportion agreeing or strongly agreeing to the statement on work–life balance: ‘The balance between my personal and professional commitments is about right.’ Results Physicians with positive beliefs about the effectiveness of using digital health technology were 3.8 percentage points (95% CI 2.7 to 5.0) more likely to use digital health technology compared with those who did not. Physicians with colleagues who already used digital health technology were also 4.1 percentage points (95% CI 2.6 to 5.6) more likely to use digital health technology. The availability of IT support and lack of privacy concerns increased the probability of using digital health technology by 1.6 percentage points (95% CI 1.0 to 2.3) and 0.5 percentage points (95% CI 0.1 to 1.0). Physicians who used digital health technology were 14.2 percentage points (95% CI −1.3 to 29.7) and 20.3 percentage points (95% CI 2.4 to 38.1) more likely to report respectively higher job satisfaction and good work–life balance, compared with the physicians who did not use it. Conclusions Findings suggested digital health technology served more as a work resource than work demand for physicians who used it.