AMA Practice Transformation Initiative Takes Aim at Burnout

Seth Augenstein
SEPTEMBER 09, 2019
doctor scientist microscope

Burnout is one of the factors feeding into the projected physician shortage looming over the next decade-plus. The American Medical Association (AMA) has put together a new initiative with a collection of support resources to try and keep doctors working and productive.

The “Practice Transformation Initiative” announced last week aims to assist doctors – immediately, according to the AMA.

“While AMA efforts to date have increased awareness of the physician burnout crisis at all levels and drive positive change, there is an immediate need for transformational solutions,” said Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH, the AMA board chair. “The Practice Transformation Initiative is positioned to lead the medical community to activate systematic change that will energize physicians in their life’s work of caring for patients.”

The collaboration involves the Physicians Foundation, and an initial cohort of the Medical Society of New Jersey, the North Carolina Medical Society, and the Washington State Medical Association.

Those state groups, in turn, will recruit hospitals and practices into the Initiative, according to the AMA.

Included are online resources and modules, like the STEPS Forward online program which includes more than 50 tools that aim to manage stress, prevent burnout, and improve efficiency; and institutional assessments to determine burnout rates at the system-wide level.

An online resource for debunking regulatory myths, and also for demonstrating the challenges with electronic health records (EHRs) are also included through the site EHRSeeWhatWeMean.org – a partnership between the AMA and the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare.

The AMA will also run a “Joy in Medicine” Recognition Program for people and organizations effectively pushing back on burnout.

The Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine, or CHARM, Charter is seeking signatures to promote doctor well-being, according to the group.

The Initiative also includes an event in two weeks. The American Conference on Physician Health will be held in Charlotte, N.C. from Sept. 19 to 21. The hosts will be the AMA, the Mayo Clinic, and Stanford Medicine.

The goal, the AMA says, is to further the research and understanding of solutions to burnout – and not just to the understanding of the phenomenon alone, according to the officials.

“Wide-spanning change in the healthcare delivery system needs to emphasize physician well-being as essential to achieving national health goals,” said Ehrenfeld.

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