What Can Online Personal Statements Tell Us? Insights about Physicians’ Personality Traits and Clinical Performance
50 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2020
Date Written: December 1, 2020
Individuals are encouraged to present themselves on various online platforms in the era of social media. These online self-expressions help readers understand and assess individuals' personality traits. In this study, we use physicians’ personal statements that are posted on an online physician review platform to examine the impact of physicians’ personality traits on their clinical performance. We extract 2,019 physicians' personal traits from the unstructured physician-generated content using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count dictionary. To address non-random matching between patients and physicians, we adopt a quasi-random setting to study patients who arrived at emergency departments with accidental injuries in Florida. Our analyses show that being treated by physicians with higher openness scores leads to lower in-hospital mortality rates, lower lab test costs, and shorter lengths of stay (LOS). In contrast, physicians with higher conscientiousness scores tend to incur more lab test costs without significantly improving patient outcomes. Moreover, agreeable physicians are more likely to help patients save lab test costs because of empathy. Further, incorporating these personality traits into an optimization problem of ED scheduling, our counterfactual analysis shows an average of 11.4%, 18.4% and 17.8% reduction in in-hospital mortality rates, lab test expenditures and LOS, respectively. As our study suggests that physicians' personality traits indeed affect their clinical performance, future healthcare management should take physicians' personalities into consideration, especially when physicians are in shortage during the pandemics like COVID-19.
Keywords: Review Platforms, Physician-Generated Content, Big Five Personality Traits, Scheduling
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