Follow these steps to receive well-being recognition from the AMA

Sara Berg, MS , News Editor

AMA News Wire

Follow these steps to receive well-being recognition from the AMA

Feb 1, 2024

Recognizing the toll that long hours, high stress and overwhelming workloads can take on the well-being of physicians, many health systems are stepping up with innovative strategies and support to reduce burnout.

As a result of their exceptional work in reducing physician burnout and enhancing well-being, these organizations are receiving well-deserved recognition through the  AMA Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program and are serving as beacons of hope for the medical community. And other organizations can do the same.

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.

“Joy in Medicine is the standard by which our nation’s best health systems should be judged because it recognizes those taking the right steps to care for their physicians, as well as patients,” AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, noted in a Leadership Viewpoints column.

Each year, the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program recognizes organizations from across the country for their dedication to building well-being and reducing physician burnout in their organization. In 2023, 72 health systems, hospitals and medical groups were recognized for their active dedication to physician well-being, distinguished by three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. They join a strong cohort of health care organizations recognized in 2022. More than 100 organizations have current recognition from the program.

For organizations looking to receive recognition from the program, here are some steps to follow.


  1. Review the program's road map

    1. The program is designed to guide organizations interested or already engaged in improving physician satisfaction and reducing burnout. That is why it is important to familiarize yourself with the program’s road map, which includes sample supporting documentation, links to relevant research and extensive resources. Organizations are also encouraged to review the annual program guidelines (PDF).
  2. Sign the Charter on Physician Well-Being

    1. Before being eligible to apply for the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program, health systems must sign the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine (CHARM) Charter. This is intended to inspire collaborative efforts among individuals, organizations, health systems and the profession of medicine to honor the collective commitment of physicians to patients and to each other.
    2. And while the program is intended for health systems with 100 or more physicians and non-physician providers, if an organization has fewer than that, they can still sign the CHARM charter and engage with other resources offered by the AMA. For organizations just shy of 100, at around 98, email the AMA Practice Transformation Team.
  3. Complete an assessment of physician well-being

    1. For health systems with 100 or more physicians and non-physician providers who have signed the CHARM charter, the third eligibility criteria before applying is that organizations must have assessed physician well-being at least once in the last three years using a validated assessment tool. This includes the AMA Organizational Biopsy®, which is a no-cost tool available to health systems who want to measure well-being. Other tools include the Mini-Z, Maslach Burnout Inventory, Mayo Well-Being Index or Stanford Professional Fulfillment Index.
  4. Submit an intent to apply

    1. Organizations interested in applying to the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program must first submit an intent to apply form. The intent to apply form and application should be initiated and submitted with the name and email of the organization’s main point of contact for well-being work such as a chief wellness officer or equivalent. Doing so allows organizations to easily access all previous submissions in the same account. When an organization’s intent to apply is accepted, they will be given direct access to the 2024 full application.
  5. Share the results of your burnout assessment

    1. Once the intent to apply has been accepted, health systems must provide aggregate findings from their most recent burnout assessment within the last three years. They must also demonstrate that the data is shared transparently with those who are eligible to participate in the survey. The well-being assessment must use a validated tool to assess burnout. Measuring physician “engagement” is not sufficient.
  6. Commit to establishing workforce well-being

    1. An organizational commitment to workforce well-being is essential to preventing physician burnout. While commitment may include different strategies over time, this is largely focused on well-being committees, establishing a chief wellness officer position and developing well-being as part of an organization’s strategic plan. Washington Permanente Medical Group—a member of the AMA Health System Program—accomplished this by seeing each decision through a well-being lens.
    2. We need your help

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

  7. Improve efficiency of practice environment

    1. Beyond assessing physician burnout, organizations should also demonstrate a commitment to measuring time spent in the EHR after work hours. Measurement must use one or more of these metrics: time on the inbox, time on note documentation, total EHR time or work outside of work. These results must also be shared with specialty leaders. Baptist Health—also an AMA Health System Program member—worked to improve applicability of the EHR, which is a point of stress for a lot of physicians.
  8. Promote leadership development

    1. Health care organizations should also demonstrate investment in promoting leadership development. This includes implementing a leader listening campaign and assessing leadership skills for all front-line physicians. Ochsner Health—an AMA Health System Program member—does this by giving leaders the right training.
  9. Measure and enhance teamwork

    1. Beyond just ensuring team members “get along,” organizations should consider a wide range of factors such as team structures, role functions and workflows that enhance the ability for teams to work together more seamlessly. At Confluence Health—also a member of the AMA Health System Program—this meant training staff to support physicians with in-basket messages. A key to this decrease has been through medical assistant training.
  10. Support your physician workforce

    1. While this has largely been designed around peer support and other programs, a new piece concerns credentialing. This includes changing invasive or stigmatizing language around mental health and substance use disorders in an organization’s credentialing applications and process. Learn how to properly word physician employment and credential applications with this AMA issue brief on confidential care to support physician health and wellness (PDF).
  11. Achieve recognition

    1. Once submitted, a review committee composed of national leaders in physician well-being will review all applications and designate an appropriate recognition level. Organizations must accomplish five of six categories to be eligible for a recognition level. Also, organizations must accomplish five of six categories before applying for the next highest level. For example, five of six criteria in bronze must be met before applying for silver recognition. Organizations will receive a private notification in the summer and a public announcement in the fall.

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.

Combat physician burnout