ACPE: Physician leadership linked to organizational success

The challenges facing healthcare organizations, including rising rates of chronic disease, clinician shortages and an aging population, require strong leadership--and new research presented by the American College of Physician Executives finds physicians fit the bill.

The ACPE's whitepaper, The Value of Physician Leadership, is based on a literature review and interviews with more than a dozen healthcare professionals that demonstrate a clear link between physician leadership and high performance.

In particular, the paper notes that the top five hospitals ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2013 were led by physicians. The paper also highlighted that 21 of the 29 Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations that earned bonuses from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services were physician-led, and that 29 percent of the physician-led ACOs achieved greater savings than the minimum.

"Other examples are notable from a variety of settings, but clearly physicians, with their deep clinical understanding and desire to provide the best care for patients, are well-placed to help bring about the redesign of care that is the bedrock of health reform," the authors wrote.

"Matured physician leaders are able to further leverage their skills and provide even deeper levels of expertise to the evolving healthcare industry's reform process."

The paper also comments on skill sets physicians must develop to reach their full leadership potential. Referencing work from the Health Care Leadership Alliance, the paper lists five key competencies for physician-leadership success:

  • Knowledge of healthcare environment
  • Professionalism
  • Communication and relationship management
  • Business skills and knowledge
  • Leadership and ability to inspire

In addition to other experts, the authors referenced the work of Carson F. Dye of executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, who said "The most effective leadership development training takes place by doing and by learning under some type of pressure."

To learn more:
- read the whitepaper