March 2012 Journal Club Meeting

Dr. Martti Kulvik opens the discussion by providing background on the Finnish healthcare system.
- HEMA’s Winter Quarter Alumni Journal Club was held at the Allen Center on March 28. The discussion came from Health Services Research 47 (Part I): 68-85, 2012: Differences in Well-Being between GPs, Medical Specialists, and Private Physicians: The Role of Psychosocial Factors by Kuusio et al., a study derived from research of the Finnish healthcare system. The theme of the discussion was differences between employed and self-employed physicians with respect to stress, attitude towards work and productivity. The subject was particularly timely given the trend in the United States towards more hospital and health system employment of physicians. Drs. Martti and Tarja Kulvik from Helsinki were the lead discussants. Martti is a neurologist and MBA who works at ETLA (the organization that evaluates the Finnish economy) and at Helsinki University Central Hospital. Tarja is a psychiatrist who works at the hospital as well. After Martti discussed the structure and some key features of the Finnish healthcare system, Tarja analyzed the findings and relevance to the U.S. situation.

While the study's findings showed that publicly-employed GPs and medical specialists experienced lower well-being then private physicians (due partly to differences in psychosocial stressors), the different self-selected patient groups need to be considered in evaluating the results for use in this country. In addition to an extended discussion about the trend towards physician employment in this country, the group was particularly fascinated by the fact that there are essentially no malpractice-related financial issues in Finland: healthcare providers are encouraged to report problems and the government handles monetary compensation in cases of injury and loss. By way of additional comparison, further insights were provided on the Italian system by professor of economics Giuseppe Turchetti, who is a Fulbright Scholar in HEMA from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Ana in Pisa.

The event was generously sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from Humana. The date of the Spring Quarter’s session will be announced shortly.

Some attendees relax before the discussion begins