AMA Webinar Review: Assessing Clinician Burnout Within Your Organization

Posted on May 30, 2019 by Nicole Anderson

Updated October 26, 2020

Group of PhysiciansRecently, VITAL WorkLife’s™ Liz Ferron, MSW, LICSW, hosted a webinar with Christine Sinsky, MD, Nancy Nankivil and Erica Eddy from the American Medical Association (AMA) to discuss "Organizational Assessment and Analysis as Part of Your Plan to Address Clinician Burnout". The focus of the webinar was defining the drivers and impact of clinician burnout and walking through the AMA’s Mini Z Assessment tool and Data Lab which helps organization’s measure burnout levels in their organization.

Clinician Burnout

“Constant stress, exhaustion and burnout of physicians can lead to a number of issues, including burnout, disruptive behavior, divorce, drug abuse and death by suicide”, Dr. Sinsky stated in the webinar. Burnout, as we know, also has a direct impact on patient care.

One major contributing factor to burnout among physicians is the increased amount of time spent on electronic health records (EHRs). According to a survey of 57 physicians conducted by the AMA, physicians spend nearly 50% of their workday on EHRs. Alongside that emerges the dreaded “pajama time,” where physicians are spending 1-2 hours a night, outside the office, working on EHRs. Below is a graph explaining the “pajama time” phenomenon:

pajama time graph AMA

Organizational Impact of Clinician Burnout

As a direct result of clinician burnout, Dr. Sinksy stated organizations are affected by:

  • Increased malpractice risk (17% increased odds)
  • Increased part time clinicians
  • Increased clinician turnover rates
  • Decreased productivity

VITAL WorkLife and the AMA

Ferron opened the webinar by explaining both VITAL WorkLife and the AMA support healthcare organizations on their quest in building a healthy, positive culture that supports the well being of physicians.

When developing a culture of well being, the first step is to assess the drivers of burnout in your organization. The AMA’s Mini Z Burnout Assessment Survey is a great tool for gathering the opinions and hearing the voices of these physicians who are experiencing burnout directly.

AMA’s Data Lab

“The AMA’s Data Lab collects data about organizations using the Mini Z Burnout Assessment. The data collected supports the research Dr. Sinksy and other researchers are doing to move the needle forward and improve organizations, clinicians and healthcare as a whole,” Nancy Nankivil said in the webinar.

During the webinar, the AMA team showed attendees the back end of the Data Lab, to get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work with the AMA on an organizational assessment and how the organization’s data is collected, reported and displayed.

Where do we go from here?

Liz Ferron commented that we have heard from physicians that they don’t want to take another survey because no changes ever come out of it. However, once the data is collected from the Mini Z Burnout Assessment, it’s important for organizations to follow through on making improvements and changes, and communicate what changes are being made and why.

Building a culture of well being takes time, concentrated effort and regular communication. Liz Ferron closed the webinar by saying, “These things aren’t going to change overnight, so we are there to help in the meantime as they take on challenges of healthcare today.”

Interested in watching the webinar?

If you are interested in watching the webinar, click the button below, fill out the form and the webinar will be available to view. 

Watch Webinar

We Can Help

VITAL WorkLife can support you along your well being journey. We offer solutions for both healthcare organizations and physicians, including our Physician Well Being Resources, a proactive set of resources to help reduce stress and burnout, improve work/life balance and support well being.

Additional solutions include our Physician Intervention, Consulting on a variety of topics from organizational culture, team dynamics to change management, and more. Contact us to learn more.

Interested in learning more?

Contact Us


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