Physician burnout rates spike to 63% in 2021
Newly published research co-authored by the AMA shows how the COVID-19 pandemic magnified long-standing issues that have accelerated the U.S. physician burnout rate. At the end of 2021, nearly 63% of physicians reported symptoms of burnout, up from 38% in 2020. Research shows that large-scale change is needed to address the physician burnout crisis.
Physician burnout trends
Since 2011, the AMA has led the national conversation on solving the physician burnout crisis and advocated for new solutions that acknowledge physicians need support, system reforms and burden reduction.
Addressing the physician burnout epidemic
While many factors contribute to burnout, the burnout epidemic is often associated with system inefficiencies, administrative burdens, and increased regulation and technology requirements. The AMA is working relentlessly to address this ongoing crisis as a key part of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.
AMA advocacy efforts
AMA’s bold advocacy, innovative research and actionable resources help physicians tackle burnout’s key causes.
- Following AMA advocacy, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act.
- Shaped more than 40 policies and secured 12 regulatory victories that have reduced documentation burdens.
- Championed relief funding and policies that enabled physicians to adjust to administrative requirements during the pandemic.
Fighting system-level drivers of physician burnout
In collaboration with health care systems, the AMA’s efforts are aimed at delivering evidence-based solutions to increase professional well-being. By establishing workflows that support team-based care, health systems can boost productivity and reduce workforce stress.
"While burnout manifests in individuals, it originates in systems. Burnout is not the result of a deficiency in resiliency among physicians, rather it is due to the systems in which physicians work."
—Christine Sinsky, MD, AMA vice president of professional satisfaction
Equipping physicians with resources
AMA develops resources that prioritize well-being and highlight workflow changes so physicians can focus on what matters: patient care.