These tools, resources address physician burnout at systems level

Contributing Writer
AMA Wire
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For physicians who are feeling burnt out—and studies show that more than half of doctors are experiencing at least one burnout symptom—there are tools and resources aimed at putting joy back into the practice of medicine.

In a recent AMA webinar, Allison M. Winkler, MPH, senior practice advisor at the AMA, underscored the organization’s commitment to using collaborative partnerships, targeted analytics and expert resources to help practices improve physician well-being. Physicians can partner with the AMA or use tools on the Association’s website that provide actionable steps to reduce burnout and enhance satisfaction.

When physicians are satisfied, patients’ health outcomes improve, physicians are more productive and they are less likely to leave a practice or reduce work hours. Increased well-being, in turn, optimizes a practice’s bottom line by increasing revenues and reducing costs, Winkler noted.

The AMA has spent the past two years working to help organizations understand burnout in their workplaces, Winkler said. Using an assessment tool known as the Mini Z Burnout Survey, AMA has been able to provide systems and practices with an organizational score for burnout, along with targeted data on culture and workplace efficiency factors.  . AMA experts then help practices interpret the data and identify solutions and strategies for practice transformation, Winkler said.

These other systems-based approaches to reducing burnout were recommended:

  • Implement a team-based model of care.
  • Enhance communication based on team huddles/co-location.
  • Develop clinician “float pools” for life events.
  • Ensure that metrics for success include clinician satisfaction and well-being.
  • Develop schedules with flexibility and clinician control.
  • Develop a wellness committee and infrastructure.

The AMA STEPS Forward™ collection has five professional well-being modules to help physicians turn these goals into a reality for their practices.

As THE AMA continues to support a systems-based approach to reducing physician burnout, a new  module takes physicians and leaders through nine steps to create structures at the organizational level designed to help physicians and other health professionals achieve more joy in practice, and also to quantify the impact of burnout on an organization. 

The module even includes an interactive calculator to estimate how much physician burnout could be costing a health care organization’s bottom line. By creating a strong foundation through developing a culture of wellness, efficiency of practice and supporting personal resilience, systems can be more productive and more joyful.

The webinar was part of the AMA’s Share, Listen, Speak, Learn Series in which physicians and staff can share resources, participate in a live event, join a conversation in the digital community and learn from resources in the AMA Education Center. The next webinar topic is cybersecurity and takes place Jan. 24, noon CST. February’s topic is developing a quality improvement culture in a practice setting, Feb. 21, noon CST.

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Dec 20, 2017
Burnout has received growing attention, with more health care organizations starting to find solutions that address problem’s system-level causes.