As a respected thought leader and convener, the American Medical Association bases its work in practice transformation and professional satisfaction on rigorous research and practice science.
Physician burnout has economic costs as well as financial costs associated with staff turnover, lost revenue, decreased productivity and risks to the organization from lower quality of care and potential for more frequent medical errors.
Previous AMA research highlighted the system-level issues that drive burnout, and the steps organizations can take to coordinate solutions for effective changes.
Our seminal research on physician burnout has shaped our collective understanding of its underlying causes, drivers of burnout, and the impact burnout has on physicians, patients and health care organizations. In collaboration with health care systems, the AMA’s research efforts are aimed at delivering evidence-based, actionable solutions to increase professional well-being.
Research has illustrated that EHRs may largely contribute to physician burnout and frustration. The AMA has partnered with several research teams from around the country to further understand the impact of EHRs on professional satisfaction and to illuminate the promise of objective EHR use metrics to quantify elements of efficiency of practice and teamwork.
Metrics for assessing physician activity using EHR log data: Published in JAMIA in 2020, authors propose seven core measures of EHR use that reflect multiple dimensions of practice efficiency and use cases of these measures for multiple stakeholders. Authors argue that standardization of EHR use measures will foster cross-study synthesis and comparative research.
EHR-use metric research list of awardees: The AMA has partnered with several organizations to generate and define a standard set of objective measures to assess physician activity through the electronic health record. Several research projects will also evaluate EHR use metrics and their relationship to burnout, professional satisfaction and well-being. The following research partners have collaborated with the AMA to expand our understanding of the EHR and EHR use metrics. Published research is anticipated in 2021.
—University of Wisconsin Health
—University of California, San Diego
Perceived EHR Usability as a Predictor of Task Load and Burnout Among US Physicians: Published in JMIR in 2020, authors conduct a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey of US physicians from all specialties conducted from October 2017 to March 2018. This investigation found that physicians with higher levels of cognitive workload have higher rates of burnout. In a recent Emerging Topic presentation, Cognitive workload: A modifiable contributor to physician burnout?, authors Elizabeth Harry, MD and Christine Sinsky, MD, discuss study findings and discuss approaches that health care organization leaders can take to address system issues to reduce burnout and promote physician well-being.