5 things health care organizations learned about burnout this year

. 4 MIN READ
By
Sara Berg, MS , News Editor

The profound challenges faced by American physicians have rightly garnered even greater attention in 2023. As the year unfolded, health care organizations found themselves at the intersection of a critical discovery: the profound insights into physician burnout uncovered by an exclusive survey from the AMA.

Fighting physician burnout

Reducing burnout is essential to high-quality patient care and a sustainable health system. The AMA measures and responds to physician burnout, helping drive solutions and interventions.

Through unprecedented global health crises and shifting health care paradigms, the lessons learned about physician burnout are not only crucial for the well-being of doctors but also have far-reaching implications for the entire health system.

More than 13,000 responses from physicians and nonphysician providers in 30 states were received from more than 70 health systems who participated in the AMA Organizational Biopsy®. The AMA benchmarking report—which is exclusive data to the AMA that is not published anywhere else—reflects 2022 trends in six key performance indicators: job satisfaction, job stress, burnout, intent to leave an organization, feeling valued by an organization and total hours spent per week on work-related activities (known as “time spend”).

The purpose of the aggregated data is to provide a national summary of organizational well-being and to serve as a comparison with other health care organizations. The results may be limited by the health systems that chose to participate. 

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.

Here is what health care organizations learned about physician burnout in 2023 from this exclusive AMA survey. 

 

  1. Half of physicians are reporting burnout

    1. Beneath doctors’ white coats lies an epidemic that so many continue to struggle with: physician burnout. While burnout is down from an all-time high in 2021, exclusive AMA data shows the problem is not going away. Learn more.
  2. Six physician specialties are at high risk for burnout

    1. As the demands of the medical field continue to intensify, physicians practicing in some specialties find themselves grappling with the harrowing consequences of excessive stress, long hours and emotional exhaustion. Learn more about which six physician specialties have the most burnout, and the effective steps that one hospital is taking to improve well-being.
  3. A physician’s gender plays a role in burnout risk

    1. Women physicians are facing a unique set of challenges that contribute to heightened levels of burnout. From juggling long working hours to battling systemic gender inequities, this phenomenon raises critical questions about the well-being of those who dedicate their lives to caring for others. Find out how a physician-owned health care organization is taking steps to reduce burnout among women physicians.
  4. How long you’ve been in practice can tell tale

    1. Physician burnout, poor job satisfaction and other professional challenges vary by career stage and middle career appears to be an especially challenging time for physicians.
    2. The AMA survey results signal a pressing need to tailor efforts to promote physician satisfaction, reduce burnout and improve retention based on where doctors are in their careers. Learn more about physician burnout at each career stage, and how one medical group offers doctors concrete steps to improve well-being.
  5. 40% of doctors plan to leave their current practice

    1. Too many young or midcareer physicians intend to leave their organizations within two years, AMA survey data shows. Finding ways to identify and address doctors’ intent to leave a health care organization is vital—and it may require smarter uses of technology. Here’s how leaders can help prevent a wave of physician departures.

We need your help

Become a member and help the AMA tackle the key causes of burnout to provide relief for physicians.

One great way for health systems and organizations to tackle physician burnout is to take part in the  AMA Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program, which is an initiative that offers a framework that provides a strategic pathway and a community of leaders to foster and accelerate well-being efforts. In 2023, 72 health systems, hospitals and medical groups were recognized for their active dedication to physician well-being.

Meanwhile, the AMA STEPS Forward® open-access toolkits 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.

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