Physician Health

Burnout high where you practice? AMA “biopsy” helps find out why

Sara Berg, MS , News Editor

With physician burnout at an all-time high of 63%, there is an urgent need for better well-being programs around the country. But those programs shouldn’t focus on personal resilience—they must address the systemic drivers of burnout. That is where the AMA Physician Well-Being Program can help. 

The AMA is advocating for you

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

The program will help raise awareness, advance knowledge and catalyze change to reduce burnout and promote joy, meaning and purpose for doctors in physician practices and health systems.

“We already know the difference between physicians who find joy and satisfaction in their work and those experiencing burnout,” AMA President Jack Resneck, MD, wrote in a recent Leadership Viewpoints column on why reducing physician burnout must be an urgent national priority.

“The former are thoroughly supported by the leaders and teams around them—working in practices or systems that value high-quality patient care and allow physicians to bring the full measure of their skills, training and experience to bear,” wrote Dr. Resneck, a dermatologist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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.

Learn about the five elements that are part of the AMA Physician Well-Being Program and how they will help catalyze the changes the U.S. health system needs.

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Through AMA-led research, the goal is to identify system-level drivers associated with physician and care team burnout. This research also looks at the consequences associated with burnout that goes unaddressed, as well as strategies that organizations can implement for effective and sustainable changes in the well-being of their physicians and care teams.

For example, research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings examined changes in burnout and satisfaction with work-life integration in physicians.

Through the Organizational Biopsy™ (PDF), the AMA offers a set of services for health systems and organizations. This includes a well-being assessment tool developed to support holistically measuring and taking action to improve well-being in an organization.

The Organizational Biopsy helps assess progress in four domains:

  • Organizational culture such as leadership, teamwork and trust.
  • Practice efficiency, which includes workflows and team structure and stability.
  • Self-care such as managing post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic growth and work-life balance.
  • Retention, which means keeping physicians in practice.

Learn more about the AMA’s organizational well-being assessment (PDF) work or email [email protected] for more information. 

Another crucial part to the well-being program is AMA STEPS Forward®, which offers open-access toolkits that provide innovative strategies that allow physicians and their staffers to thrive. For example, STEPS Forward offers playbooks filled with actionable resources to help:

Additionally, the AMA STEPS Forward® Innovation Academy offers other opportunities for learning from practice-innovation experts and peers through webinars, mentoring, panel discussions, boot camps and immersion programs. 

Members save on health & wellness

AMA members get worldwide access to thousands of top-rated gyms, fitness studios and spas from ClassPass.

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Three people stand at a straight arrow, overlayed on a curving pathway

The AMA Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program offers a strategic road map that helps guide health systems in their journey to improve professional satisfaction and well-being. 

More than 80 health systems have earned recognition for meeting identified criteria. The program also unites the medical community on solutions that help physicians thrive.

In addition, the program offers event programming on physician health that allows health systems and physicians to come together to learn more and share ideas.

Marquee events include the American Conference on Physician Health—jointly sponsored by the AMA, Mayo Clinic and Stanford University—and the International Conference on Physician Health™. The latter conference is co-sponsored by the AMA, Canadian Medical Association and British Medical Association. The conferences are held in alternating years.