Hospitals boost physician leader training

In the continued effort to align hospitals and doctors, more institutions are offering in-house physician leadership training.

In fact, the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) says it taught physician leadership courses for about 200 days in 2011, up from the average 100 days in previous years, American Medical News reported.

Why the increased interest in physicians' personal development? These education opportunities for both employed and independent doctors are aimed at helping them move into management roles and serve on improvement committees, preparing them for increased responsibilities.

"ACPE believes that physicians are uniquely positioned to improve healthcare," the organization, which has 9,500 members, says in its mission statement.

In-house programs, such as those from ACPE, offer training from outside experts. As added incentive for participating physicians, the courses often include continuing medical education credits or sometimes honorariums.

"It's clear that we need physicians to do more than just run the medical staff," James Rice, project director for consulting firm Management Sciences for Health, told amednews. "But for physicians to go into leadership and management roles, serve on committees for the medical staff, take on part-time medical directorships, run accountable care organizations [and] be on process improvement teams, a new set of competencies has to be developed."

A National Center for Healthcare Leadership report last year found that larger health systems are more likely than freestanding hospitals to adopt best practices for leadership development because of the available resources associated with size, ownership structure and teaching status. The report, however, noted that hospitals' use of leadership development didn't significantly affect mortality rates, readmissions and Hospital Consumer Assessment Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores.

Still, in addition for preparing the physicians for added responsibilities, investing in physician leadership allows existing management to prepare their succession plans.

For more information:
- read the amednews article
- visit the ACPE website

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