Physician burnout: How can we improve the work of care?

In this episode, Dr. Gordon Moore talks with Dr. Christine Sinsky, Vice President for Professional Satisfaction with the American Medical Association (AMA) and a national leader in studying the connection between joy in work and health system performance. When a physician’s work day includes two hours of EHR and desk work for every one hour of direct face-to-face time with patients, the work of care can seem insurmountable. And technology, which should make work easier, often adds to the administrative burden.

How do we create the right conditions for physicians and other clinicians so that joy, purpose and meaning in work are possible?

If you care about patient safety, if you care about quality, if you care about cost, if you care about human beings…then you care about whether physicians and other clinicians have the opportunity for joy in work.
— Christine Sinsky, MD, Vice President, American Medical Association


American Medical Association (AMA). Steps Forward practice transformation toolkits, including a toolkit for Creating the Organizational Foundation for Joy in Medicine.

Journal articles on the topic of physician burnout and joy in work:

Sinsky, Christine and Privitera, Michael. “Creating a “Manageable Cockpit” for Clinicians: A Shared Responsibility.” JAMA Internal Medicine. March 26, 2018.

West, C.P; Dyrbye, L.N.; Shanafelt, T.D. “Physician burnout: contributors, consequences and solutions.” Journal of Internal Medicine. March 24, 2018.

Noseworthy, John; et al. “Physician Burnout Is A Public Health Crisis: A Message To Our Fellow Health Care CEOs,” Health Affairs Blog. March 28, 2017.

Sinsky, Christine; et al. “Allocation of Physician Time in Ambulatory Practice: A Time and Motion Study in 4 Specialties.Annals of Internal Medicine. December 6, 2016.

Bodenheimer, Thomas and Sinsky, Christine. “From Triple to Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider.” Annals of Family Medicine. November/December 2014.

Sinsky, Christine; et al. “In Search of Joy in Practice: A Report of 23 High-Functioning Primary Care Practices.Annals of Family Medicine. May/June 2013.