Industry trends drive demand for physician leadership

By Matt Kuhrt

The continuing evolution of the healthcare industry drives demand for physician leaders, in part because they play a key role in bridging the gap between the practical information necessary to help patients in the clinic and the quality metrics necessary to assess and improve quality at the level of a community or a population.

In an interview with the American Journal of Managed Care, Anthony Slonim, M.D., president and CEO of Renown Health in Reno, Nevada, offers insight on the industry trends shaping the current demand for physician leadership:

Increased focus on population health, general wellness and preventive medicine throughout the industry is driving a major area of need, according to Slonim. Physicians naturally focus on individual patients, while those in leadership tend to see quality measures in the aggregate. Slonim sees these as complementary points of view, rather than mutually exclusive ones, which means a good physician leader must be able to look at patient health from both ends of the spectrum.

Slonim also considers clinical experience crucial for leaders in an accountable care organization setting, where the administrative imperatives involve improving quality and lowering costs. Doctors need a seat at the table when organizations make cost-cutting decisions, he says, because they are in the best position to gauge the effect of those cuts on patient care and outcomes.

In terms of developing leadership skills, Slonim sees mentorship & experience as the most important elements in developing doctors' leadership skills. As physicians broaden their skill set to include business and leadership experience, they gain more opportunities to add their voice to administrative discussions. "Bringing a clinical lens into the boardroom is really important," says Slonim, "and we're seeing many, many different types of ways physicians can contribute."

To learn more:
- read the interview