Depressed physicians tied to more medical errors, study finds

Physician well-being is a crucial component of patient safety, as depressed physicians are more likely to make medical errors, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

For the study, researchers from University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor systematically reviewed 11 peer-reviewed studies involving 21,517 physicians. All studies examined the association between physician depressive symptoms and perceived or observed medical errors.

Depressed physicians were 1.95 times more likely to make medical errors than their peers. Researchers also found a link between medical errors and subsequent depressive symptoms in physicians, pointing to a bidirectional relationship between the two factors.

"The bidirectional associations between physician depressive symptoms and perceived medical errors verified by this meta-analysis suggest that physician well-being is critical to patient safety," the study's authors concluded.

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