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AMA News Room

June 8, 2015

AMA Launches STEPS Forward to Address Physician Burnout

For immediate release:
June 8, 2015

Ambitious new initiative offers physicians strategies to revitalize their medical practices and improve patient care

CHICAGO - Building on its prominent study with RAND Corp. confirming that the administrative burden of modern medicine is a root cause of physician burnout, the American Medical Association (AMA) today launched an ambitious new effort aimed at helping physicians redesign their medical practices to minimize stress and reignite professional fulfillment in their work.

AMA STEPS Forward is an interactive practice transformation series offering innovative strategies that will allow physicians and their staff to thrive in the evolving health care environment by working smarter, not harder. Physicians looking to refocus their practice can turn to AMA STEPS Forward for proven, physician-developed strategies for confronting common challenges in busy medical practices and devoting more time to caring for patients.

While doctors are inclined to always do what is necessary to take care of patients, the AMA-RAND report found that the satisfaction physicians derive from their work is eroding as they spend more time on grueling administrative rules, regulations and paperwork than caring for patients. The report noted that many physicians say that the bureaucratic obstacles to providing patients with high-quality care are major contributors to symptoms of burnout, including emotional fatigue, depersonalization, loss of enthusiasm and early retirement.

“Research shows that rates of overall burnout among U.S. physicians approach 40 percent, more than 10 percentage points higher than the general population, which is why the AMA is taking a hands-on approach to meeting their day-to-day concerns through a new online practice transformation series called AMA STEPS Forward,” said AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, M.D. “Physicians can find transformative solutions for their medical practices that can foster professional fulfillment by freeing them to enjoy one of the central reasons they chose a career in medicine - to spend more time with their patients and ensure they receive the highest-quality care.”

Physicians can access the collection of interactive, online educational modules to help address common practice challenges at www.STEPSforward.org, and also earn continuing medical education credit. There are 16 modules that include steps for implementation, case studies and downloadable videos, tools and resources. More than 25 modules are expected to be available by year’s end.

Current modules address four key areas:
  • Practice efficiency and patient care
  • Patient health
  • Physician health
  • Technology and innovation

As part of the AMA STEPS Forward launch, the AMA and the Medical Group Management Association have issued a practice innovation challenge seeking more high-value, easy-to-adopt, transformative medical practice solutions.

This challenge provides an opportunity for out-of-the-box thinkers to propose solutions that will also help physicians adapt to the changing health care environment. The best solutions will be eligible for one of several $10,000 prizes in addition to having their idea developed into future STEPS Forward modules.

Additional details, submission requirements and evaluation criteria are available STEPSforward.org. To enter the challenge, proposals must be submitted by September 1, 2015.

AMA STEPS Forward is the latest initiative in the AMA’s ongoing strategic commitment to lead and advance the delivery of high-quality and affordable health care. From revitalizing medical practices to ensuring that digital health helps provide high-quality patient care, our goal is to help physicians navigate and succeed in a continually evolving health care environment. Learn more at www.ama-assn.org/go/psps.


Media Contact:
Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial
(312) 464-5970

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