Medical Organizations Release Plan to Reduce Physician Burnout

What makes for a healthy physician and what can be done to prevent accompanying burnout? To address that issue, major medical organizations and centers are coming together behind a “Charter on Physician Well-Being” published this week in JAMA.

What makes for a healthy physician and what can be done to prevent accompanying burnout? To address that issue, major medical organizations and centers are coming together behind a “Charter on Physician Well-Being” published this week in JAMA.

More than half of US physicians say they experience burnout in their work, and studies have documented the effect that administrative tasks, such as time spent on electronic health records, have had on lower physician satisfaction with their work.

The charter is intended as a model for medical organizations to not only minimize and manage physician burnout, but also promote physician well-being. It has been endorsed or supported by many major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Association of Medical Colleges. It calls for adequate support systems for physicians dealing with stress, overwork and mental health issues. It promotes development of institutional and organizational changes, ranging from re-engineering work schedules and personnel policies to providing wellness and counseling programs for physicians.

“This is a first step on a national level to lay out guiding principles and commitments that we consider essential for physician well-being throughout a career, beginning with the earliest training,” said Colin West, MD, PhD, a physician-researcher at Mayo Clinic and senior author of the charter, in a statement.

The charter says it is guided by 4 principles: that effective patient care promotes and requires physician well-being; physician well-being is related with the well-being of all members of the healthcare team; physician well-being is a quality marker; and physician well-being is a shared responsibility.

Reference

Thomas LR, Ripp JA, West CP. Charter on physician well-being. [published online March 29, 2018]. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.1331.