Professional communication networks may improve job satisfaction in primary care: study

November 06, 2019

Professional communication networks — described by researchers as “face-to-face interaction about patient care among the health care professionals in a primary care team” — may improve job satisfaction, according to survey results published in Annals of Family Medicine.

“Team-based care is the cornerstone of relationship-centered health care for patients with chronic illness,” Marlon P. Mundt, PhD, a health economist and professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told Healio Primary Care. “Forces driving primary care’s transition to the team-based model are the complexity of modern medical care, ever-expanding lists of recommended clinical practice guidelines and a fundamental problem for solo clinicians of too much work and too little time to simultaneously provide acute, chronic and preventive care.”

“High-functioning, effectively communicating primary care teams are a solution to the difficulty of effectively delivering care to primary care patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions,” Mundt said.



Whereas communication among health care professionals plays an important role in providing the best quality of care for primary care patients, little evidence exists regarding how professional communication contributes to job satisfaction among health care providers, including physicians and clinical staff, in primary care clinics. This study evaluates the extent to which professional communication networks contribute to job satisfaction among health care professionals in primary care clinics.


A total of 143 health care professionals, including physicians and clinical staff, at 5 US primary care clinics participated in a cross-sectional survey on their communication connections regarding patient care with other care team members and their job satisfaction. Social network analysis calculated core-periphery measures to identify individuals located in a dense cohesive core and in a sparse, loosely connected periphery in the communication network. Generalized linear mixed modeling related core-periphery position of clinic employees in the communication network to job satisfaction, after adjusting for job title, sex, number of years working at the clinic, and percent full-time employment.


Average job satisfaction was 5.8 on a scale of 1 to 7. Generalized linear mixed modeling showed that individuals who were in the core of the communication network had significantly greater job satisfaction than those who were on the periphery. Female physicians had lesser overall job satisfaction than other clinic employees.


Interventions targeting professional communication networks might improve health care employee job satisfaction at primary care clinics.

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