Physicians, including primary care physicians, experience a higher rate of burnout than those in many other professions. In a special issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, entitled Well-Being of the Health Care Team, several studies by researchers at ABFM report on factors affecting burnout in family physicians.

Addressing social determinants of health is essential to reducing pervasive health disparities, yet physicians still struggle with methods to identify patients’ needs and how to address those needs.

Total annual health care expenditures in the US doubled between 2002–2016, growing from $810 billion to $1617 billion, while the already small proportion spent on primary care declined to 5.4%. This means that approximately a nickel out of every dollar spent on healthcare went to primary care, which has been declared the ‘central function’ of any effective health system internationally. The US health care system continues to underperform relative to the health systems in other high-income countries.

In 2016, primary care physicians provided 54.5% of all patient care visits and are the same physicians who manage the most of the care for people with high-risk conditions that make them vulnerable for contracting coronavirus. However, most primary care practices are seeing a 30–70% reduction in patient visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family physicians with sports medicine specialty training spend a significant amount of clinical time providing primary health care. According to a new study by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), a majority of Sports Medicine Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) holders spend less than 60% of their time providing sports related care. Researchers found few differences in scope of practice between sports medicine family physicians and family physicians without a CAQ with 24% of sports medicine family physicians providing inpatient care and 4% delivering babies.

Correlation of cognitive knowledge acquisition throughout the continuum of medical education and practice has been a subject of great interest to medical educators and the specialty board community. Research done by the American Board of Family Medicine showed that formal knowledge assessment examinations administered throughout medical training correlated with graduates’ performance on the ABFM Initial Certification Examination performance.

Drug overdose deaths have increased dramatically in the United States. Opioid use disorder (OUD) and opioid-related overdoses contribute to nearly one in five pregnancy-related deaths and are a major cause of death after delivery.

The social contract between patients and society can determine medicine’s values and responsibilities in caring for the patient. The social contract is clearly articulated in medicine yet has frayed over the years, which has led to a loss of public trust. Aligning healthcare to support professionalism and value will ultimately support the social contract. ABFM created the Center for Professionalism and Value in Health Care in 2018 to work collaboratively on solutions to repair medicine’s social contract, working across a wide array of health care professions.

Standardized examinations help to assure the public that individuals entering a profession have the medical knowledge needed to provide professional services in that field. Since its founding in 1969, the American Board of Family Medicine has conducted several validity studies to verify that the content of the Family Medicine Certification Examination (FMCE) is representative of the specialty's ever-evolving scope of practice.

Research has shown high burnout rates among physicians, with consequences of quality of care delivered and the physician's own health. Linkages between organizational factors and physician burnout have been reported, but few have looked at correlations related specifically with practice type and ownership status. New research from the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) analyzed a possible association between burnout among family physicians and practice organization, ownership, and environmental characteristics of the practices in which they work.