AMA calls for continued efforts to decrease physician burnout

The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for continued efforts to reduce physician burnout even after new research has found that notable progress is being made in that area. 

A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that burnout among U.S. physicians dropped significantly in 2017 from a peak in 2014. Conducted by researchers from the AMA, the Mayo Clinic and the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, the study revealed that 43.9 percent of U.S. physicians displayed at least one symptom of burnout in 2017, compared with 54.4 percent in 2014 and 45.5 percent in 2011.  

The AMA acknowledged the progress in a recent statement, but warned that more efforts need to be made to reduce what it is calling a public health “crisis.”  

The organization is also urging leaders in the healthcare system to "remain focused” in pushing for research, interventions, workflow and teamwork enhancements, policy changes and technology improvements to help reduce physician burnout.  

“Despite improvements in the last three years, burnout levels remain much higher among physicians than other U.S. workers, a gap inflamed as the bureaucracy of modern medicine interferes with patient care and inflicts a toll on the well-being of physicians,” AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, said in the statement. “There is a strong economic case for the health system to continue a comprehensive strategy to reduce the work-induced syndrome of burnout and caregiver fatigue among physicians.”  

Efforts to reduce physician burnoutespecially in radiology and medical imaginghave been at the epicenter of numerous studies, surveys and conferences, such as the American Conference on Physician Health to be hosted by the AMA and partners this coming September.  

Even still, according to McAneny, there is more work that needs to be done.  

“The progress demonstrated in today’s research suggests that growing national efforts to address physician burnout are on the right track, but more work is needed to achieve meaningful change,” she said in the statement. “Addressing the crisis requires continued investment from the health system in a comprehensive strategy that targets barriers to efficiently providing patients with high-quality care as the primary driver of physician burnout.”