Why do we need Physician Leaders today

Posted by Health Entrepreneur 06/05/2015

The multitude of challenges that healthcare organizations are facing today with the rising rate of chronic illnesses, an aging population, changing laws and regulations, health care reform and implementation of ACA. The forum also sees that there is a well-defined connection between physician leadership and high performance. There has been extensive reviews of material available and dozens of interviews conducted with healthcare leaders which all go to affirm that matured physician leadership will be needed for healthcare to make a definitive move towards higher quality, consistent safety, efficiency and value.

What makes physicians best suited for the role?

Physicians with their complete and deep clinical understanding, along with the unswerving desire to provide the best care to their patients, are best suited to be able to bring about change and betterment in health care which is the bedrock of success and health care reform. ACPE (now AAPL) has also seen that there is a rise in enterprises willing and seeking to engage physicians and to educate physician leaders in their new role. As per a survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association, there is a 75-per cent increase to the number of physicians being engaged and employed by hospitals since 2000.


What are the disruptions in the healthcare industry and what is the outcome of such disruption? What role do physicians play in the current scenario?


The healthcare industry has entered an era of such distinct change and disruption along with an industry with great demands and growth, that physician leadership has become the need of the hour. “The healthcare segment has slowly and steadily moved towards “value-based care” and this is going to lead to the greatest change experienced for the last hundred years in healthcare”, says Dean Gruner, MD, president and CEO of Theda Care Inc., and a board member of the Theda Care Center for Healthcare Value in Appleton.


All this points to the enormous responsibility that falls on physicians and the current environment presents most outstanding opportunities for physicians to grow and develop permanent, life-long improvements in healthcare.


A collection of elements and forces place physicians at the crux of the matter and center stage:

  • There has been a very fundamental redesign of care models in the clinical arena in several settings.

  • The changes in financial payment models which have been rewarding health care organizations for clinical excellence while enabling provision of coordinated care at reduced costs.

  • There has been a major shift from a volume-based to a value-based system in healthcare.

  • The focus on managing public-health and moving populations towards wellness.

  • The evolution of capitation, bundled and payment strategies.

  • 5% of hospital leaders are physicians today, and given the tremendous change seen in this segment and considering the need for greater focus and diligence in healthcare this number is expected to increase rapidly. According to Maureen Bisognano, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, MA, “It’s a wonderful sign that physicians are expanding from clinical care to include learning what it takes to be a good leader” and he says that this bodes well for healthcare.


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