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AMA News Room

August 19, 2015

How the AMA is Helping America’s Physicians Combat Burnout

For immediate release:
August 19, 2015

Physician-tested strategies available to improve professional fulfillment, resilience and well-being

CHICAGO - The problem of burnout and caregiver fatigue among physicians is real and immediate. In fact, research shows that the rates of overall burnout extend to about 40 percent of U.S. physicians, more than 10 percentage points higher than the general population. In response, the American Medical Association (AMA) has created an ambitious program aimed at successfully preventing burnout and promoting well-being for medical professionals.

AMA STEPS Forward, the online practice transformation series launched last June, is offering new online modules that help physicians learn their risk factors for burnout and adopt real-life strategies to reignite professional fulfillment and resilience.

“Physicians are professionals who at their core are called to self-sacrifice and inclined to always do what's necessary to take care of patients,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. “But modern medicine can take a toll over time, and the AMA wants physicians to know about the risks associated with burnout and the strategies to help combat it.”

A prominent collaborative study by the AMA and RAND confirmed that the obstacles to putting patients first contribute to physician dissatisfaction and the risk of burnout. Building on these findings, two new modules in the AMA STEPS Forward series offer key strategies for taking on burnout.

  • The first module, Improving Physician Resiliency, offers an internal approach to help physicians managed personal and professional stress. Physicians who are resilient are better equipped to manage the stress of relentless change in medical practice and less likely to experience burnout. The module provides simple, evidence-based solutions to help physicians foster resilience against stress and protect against burnout.
  • The second module, Preventing Physician Burnout, offers an external approach to help physicians make practice-level changes to improve workflow and reduce barriers to patient care. Increasing physician involvement in efforts to improve their practice environment results in better patient satisfaction, quality outcomes, and overall practice morale and productivity. The module provides assessment tools and targeted intervention strategies that reduce sources of stress and support professional well-being.

Both modules are among 17 others currently available in the STEPS Forwardseries created by the AMA in partnership with Klick Health, an award-winning digital health agency. The interactive initiative covers transformative medical practice solutions in key areas such as: practice efficiency and patient care, patient health, and technology and innovation. Physicians have found STEPS Forward a valued resource with 86 percent indicating they are likely to implement solutions offered by the program.

Additional modules are planned and the AMA is seeking more high-value, easy-to-adopt, transformative medical practice solutions to add to STEPS Forward.

The AMA in collaboration with the Medical Group Management Association has issued a practice innovation challenge offering an opportunity for out-of-the-box thinkers to propose solutions that will also help physicians adapt to th 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 at: http://www.innovatewithama.com/.

AMA STEPS Forward is the latest initiative in the AMA’s ongoing strategic commitment to help physicians and their practices thrive so they can continue to put patients first. From revitalizing medical practices to ensuring that digital health helps provide high-quality patient care, the AMA’s goal is to help physicians navigate and succeed in a continually evolving health care environment.

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Media Contact:
Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial
(312) 464-5970
robert.mills@ama-assn.org

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