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More Physicians being Tapped for Administrative Role

Posted on | Posted By | 3 Comments

When considering your next career move, have you looking into the possibility of entering into an administrative role at a healthcare organization?

As Steve Jacob reports in D Healthcare Daily, history is reverting back to the physician-led hospital, something that was common 100 years ago, but in recent decades, has drastically shrunk to two percent or lower. A recent survey found that better than 33 percent of hospitals and health systems have no physicians in the executive suite.

However, Jacob writes, “there is a movement afoot to put physicians into leadership positions because delivery reform law is changing the healthcare landscape. Healthcare organizations now must focus as much on quality as financial performance. Patients and policymakers are demanding greater transparency, patient safety, cost effectiveness, and accountability. For all this to happen, physicians need a strong voice.”

Texas Health Resources CEO Doug Hawthorne observed, “Advancing physicians in key leadership roles alongside operations leaders at all levels of the system brings together a depth of clinical and operational expertise that will help us understand and address all aspects of patient care. This approach will enable us to connect the dots along the care continuum—from wellness, prevention, and primary care to acute care, rehabilitation, and end-of-life care.”

Texas Health Resources and Baylor Quality Alliance are actively working to educate and qualify physicians for administrative roles, and USMD Hospital of Arlington, Texas, provides weekend training for four to six of its physicians who show leadership potential each year.

Medical schools are also starting to see the trend, with over 50 percent of medical schools offering joint MD/MBA degree programs, Jacob reports. In fact, the Association of American Medical Colleges has found that “combined enrollment in MD/PhD, MD/JD, and MD/MBA programs has increased by more than a third from 2002 to 2011.”

And, of course, the Affordable Care Act has further impacted the rise of the physician executive, with “one out of five of those enrolled in MIT’s Sloan School of Management program…either a senior-level physician or healthcare professional.”

Quality scores and other measurements seem to be positively impacted when physicians are in administrative roles, and a 2011 study reported “hospital quality scores were about 25 percent higher at hospitals led by physicians, compared with those that were not.”

Then, there’s the practicality of the physician-executive. Jacob observes, “…[P]hysician leaders can be role models for the medical staff and clearly have an advantage when recruiting clinical talent. They have instant credibility because they have ‘walked the walk’ as a healer.”

As physicians looking for jobs, what are your thoughts on the rise of the physician executive? Do you see this development as positive? Have you considered going into an executive role?

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