Hospitalists translate into successful C-suite execs

Physicians with a hospital background and natural leadership abilities are a perfect fit for the C-suite executive roundtable, according to an article published in The Hospitalist.

"The correlation is that hospitalists are leading teams; they are quarterbacking care," Kathy Bollinger, president of the Arizona West Region of Banner Health, told the publication. "A good hospitalist brings the team together."

Bollinger hired pediatrician and hospitalist Steve Narang, M.D., former chief medical officer at Banner's Cardon Children's Medical Center in Phoenix, as the CEO of Good Samaritan Medical, Arizona's largest teaching hospital, specifically for his hospitalist background.

Hospitalists bring a knowledge of the inner workings of a hospital, and a "problem-solver outlook," as well as a desire to improve the hospital's functionality and the experience to make it happen, according to the article. Successful hospitalist leaders are also able to successfully recruit physicians, retain them and develop them professionally because of their clinical credibility.

"Hospitalists are so well-positioned … to get truly at the intersection of operations and find value in a complex puzzle. Hospitalists are able to do that," Narang said. "At the end of the day, it's about leadership. And I learned that from day one as a hospitalist."

Hospitalists should first pursue lower-level leadership roles and work their way up to the C-suite, exploring roles like chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs, said Robert Zipper, M.D., chair of the Society of Hospital Medicine's Leadership Committee, and CMO of Sound Physicians' West Region.

However, hospitalists and physician leaders may need additional training, with either an MBA or a medical management degree, in order to learn the ins and out of working as an administrator, according to the article. 

"It was obvious to me that I had some needs to develop some additional competencies and capabilities, a different skill set than I gained in medical school and residency," said Patrick Torcson, M.D., vice president and chief integration officer at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington, La. "The same skill set that makes one a successful or quality physician isn't necessarily the same skill set that you need to be an effective manager or administrator."

To learn more:
- here's the article