Primary Care Physician Stress Driven by Social and Financial Needs of Complex Patients

  • Jonathan Z. WeinerEmail author
  • Jodi K. McCloskey
  • Connie S. Uratsu
  • Richard W. Grant
Concise Research Reports


Caring for complex patients may be an underreported source of stress for primary care physicians (PCPs). Prior research on reducing physician burnout has largely focused on communication, work-life balance, and self-management techniques.1 Perceived patient complexity has been linked to decreased PCP work satisfaction, but little is known about how specific components of patient complexity such as socioeconomic or personal circumstances, burden of medical conditions, or behavioral health impact PCP stress.2, 3 We examined the association between PCP self-reported stress and the factors that define their most complex patients.


PCPs from a large integrated health care system in Northern California completed a survey as part of a quality improvement project related to complex patient care management. Printed surveys were distributed to 156 PCPs from 6 community primary care practices across 3 medical facilities with similar access to case management services. The...



There were no additional contributors to this manuscript beyond the listed authors.


External grant funding was provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases under project number 5K24DK109114-02. Internal funding awarded by Kaiser Permanente of Northern California (No grant number associated). JZW was supported by the Division of Research Delivery Science Fellowship Program.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study was reviewed by the Research Determination Office of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and deemed to be quality improvement exempt from full review by a KP Institutional Review Board.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Z. Weiner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jodi K. McCloskey
    • 1
  • Connie S. Uratsu
    • 1
  • Richard W. Grant
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of ResearchKaiser Permanente Northern CaliforniaOaklandUSA

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