Health systems focus on leadership more than hospitals

Health systems adopt best practices for leadership development more than freestanding hospitals, according to a report by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership.

In addition to using data from the American Hospital Association and Hospital Compare, researchers asked more than 500 hospitals and 31 systems how they rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 7 in terms of how much they practice leadership development, with 1 being the least ("not at all") and 7 the most ("a great deal").

In terms of selecting new talent, managing performance, planning for successors, learning and development, and governance, larger health systems averaged a 4.87, compared to 3.69 for hospitals. Although hospitals reported that they frequently select new talent, they did not adopt governance practices or involve the board in monitoring talent management and succession planning.

Why did health systems fare better than hospitals? Size, ownership structure, and teaching status likely played a big part, according to the report. Still, the report determined there to be "minimal correlation" between implementation of such practices and overall hospital quality.

"Smaller hospitals, nonaffiliated hospitals, and other specific hospitals types may benefit from tailored implementation assistance in the adoption of proven leadership development practices," the report added. For example, there was no significant relationship between the hospitals' use of leadership development with mortality rates, readmissions, and HCAHPS scores.

For more information:
- check out the full report (.pdf)

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