3 opportunities for physicians as medical practice evolves

Team of doctors talking
There are more opportunities for doctors beyond clinical practice.

A desire to take care of patients is behind most doctors’ decision to go into medicine, but there are ways physicians can help patients beyond clinical practice.

As the industry moves full speed ahead to new payment and care delivery models, executives at some of the country’s largest health systems say that physicians must lead the way and are taking steps to make that happen. The two most important skills that all physician leaders must possess are the ability to build a positive culture in their practice or hospital and to communicate well with the healthcare team and patients.

As the role physicians evolves, there are many opportunities for them to provide leadership, writes Akhilesh Pathipati, a fourth-year medical student at Stanford University, on the organization's blog.

“With a changing healthcare system and a population that has ever more complex medical needs, there are new ways for doctors to help their patients,” says Pathipati.

His experience in business school has shown him that doctors have a role to play outside of clinical practice and that physician involvement is needed to solve the problems of American healthcare. There are three major areas where doctors should provide leadership including:

Academic medicine, including research and teaching. Physician-scientists have been responsible for breakthrough discoveries and those who go into teaching help train the next generation of doctors.

Healthcare management and policy. More doctors are pursuing careers as leaders of hospitals and health systems. They are also getting involved in shaping health policy, including a number of physicians who have run for elected office.

Entrepreneurship. Well aware of the needs of patients, physicians are in a good position to create tools for other providers and patients.