Literature on health system transformation highlights the importance of physician engagement, suggesting that it is a critical factor for lowering costs while improving efficiency, quality of care, patient safety, physician satisfaction and retention. “Engagement” in health care is often defined as a positive, fulfilling work-related state of mind, which is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. The aim of this scoping review is to identify factors associated with, and tools used to measure physician engagement.
MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and gray literature were searched. Supplementary articles were obtained by searching article references. All quantitative and qualitative study designs were eligible that described factors associated with, and tools used to measure, hospital physician engagement. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted. Groupings and clustering were conducted to determine dominant groups or cluster of characteristics. Conceptual mapping was then conducted to identify patterns.
A total of 15 studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria. All were published between 2012 and 2017. Studies were predominantly conducted in Germany (n=8). Factors associated with physician engagement were synthesized into individual characteristics (n=7), work environment characteristics (n=7), and work outcomes (n=5). The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale was the most commonly used tool (n=14).
This scoping review provides a strong evidence-based platform to further advance knowledge in the area of physician engagement. The identification of environmental factors assists hospital administrative leaders in understanding how they might intervene to affect engagement, while the identification of individual characteristics enable identification of vulnerable physicians, permitting identification of the most pertinent targeted areas for focus.