Physician Health

4 ways health care leaders can put doctors’ well-being first

Sara Berg, MS , News Editor

The culture, high-level organizational strategy, compensation models, benefits, efficiency of the practice environment and the impact of the EHR at health systems and organizations can all contribute to physician burnout. But the single biggest driver of professional satisfaction is actually the behavior of a physician’s immediate leader. That is why wellness-centered leadership is important.

The AMA is advocating for you

The AMA has achieved recent wins in 5 critical areas for physicians.

Wellness-centered leadership is the idea that the behaviors of health care leaders influence the organizational culture—a powerful driver of well-being for physicians. Establishing a culture of well-being is an essential step in achieving the quadruple aim of health care and restoring joy in medicine.

Promoting leadership development is a key requirement in the AMA Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program, which empowers health systems to reduce burnout and build well-being so that physicians and their patients can thrive.

Reducing physician burnout is a critical component of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.

Far too many American physicians experience burnout. That's why the AMA develops resources that prioritize well-being and highlight workflow changes so physicians can focus on what matters—patient care.

Physician leaders can learn what key strategies to follow when creating a culture of well-being through an AMA STEPS Forward® playbook on wellness-centered leadership.

  1. Build physician-administrator trust

    1. Physicians often feel as though administrators view them as production-line workers and fail to grasp the challenges doctors encounter in taking care of patients. Building trust is key to resolving physician-administrator tension and helping reduce burnout drivers.
  2. Give and receive physician feedback

    1. Feedback is key to fostering the trusting environment that is one of the most valuable characteristics of a high-functioning organization. Leaders need to give feedback to physicians and get it in return. Learn how to effectively gather and deliver feedback.

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  3. Prioritize physician well-being

    1. It’s time for health care organizations to prioritize physician well-being, which can in turn lead to better, safer and more compassionate patient care. Making doctors’ well-being a priority also will reduce health care organizations’ total costs of care.
  4. Make meaningful and lasting well-being changes

    1. With a chief wellness officer in place, physician well-being prioritized and an understanding that changes will take more than words, it’s time to make meaningful, sustainable changes in each work unit. Learn about the three key ways to make that happen and have a positive impact on physician well-being.

AMA STEPS Forward® open-access toolkits and playbooks offer innovative strategies that allow physicians and their staff to thrive in the new health care environment. These resources can help you prevent physician burnout, create the organizational foundation for joy in medicine and improve practice efficiency.

Combat physician burnout