Physician Leadership Development: The Foundation of Health System Transformation

two doctors discussing the importance of physician leadership development

The healthcare system in America faces challenges that must be met with a combination of clinical knowledge and strategy. For too long, strategic decisions affecting health systems have been lopsided, leaning toward administrators as the ultimate decision-makers.

There is tremendous value in bringing physicians to the decision-making table, but with so few medical schools including physician leadership development in their curriculum, most physicians have never received the formal leadership training necessary to successfully navigate and transform today’s healthcare ecosystem.

Our work with healthcare providers has shown that physician leadership development programs demonstrate success in increasing alignment, improving organizational performance, and boosting career satisfaction – leading to more engaged physicians capable of shaping the system they’re a part of. To solve the problems facing healthcare and deliver the promise of modern medicine to all members of our communities, physician leadership development must become a priority.

The Gap in Physician Leadership Development 

Physicians need to understand business challenges like access to issues, mergers & acquisitions, and budgeting, just to name a few. But, we simultaneously need administrative leaders to understand things like patient rounding, the downstream impact on patient care, quality created within supply chain decisions, and the need for Electronic Health Record/Electronic Medical Record optimization. 

In short, we need to activate and integrate both administrators and physicians/providers in a way that helps create the type of culture needed to pull off value-based care models. One side of the equation is simply not enough. 

Turning Physicians Into Leaders

Physicians are great candidates for leadership development programs because they tend to be engaged, curious, and academically competitive. While developing physician leadership development programs, there are 8 key competencies and skills that should be kept in focus: 

1. Setting and achieving goals

2. Receiving feedback 

3. Giving feedback 

4. Working across organizational boundaries 

5. Learning through others

6. Building and mending relationships 

7. Managing change

8. Having self-insight, managing and developing self 

To solve the problems facing healthcare and deliver the promise of modern medicine to all members of our communities, interdependence and collaboration must be instilled in our health system leaders. Many changes to leadership and culture will be required to transform health systems and physician leadership is an excellent place to start. Read our full white paper to learn more about boosting engagement and reducing burnout, as well as the real-world impact of physician leadership development. 

Download White Paper

Download this white paper to learn the problems facing the healthcare system and how physician leadership development can be a starting point to solve them.

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September 8, 2020
About the Author(s)
Nick Hines
Nick is the former lead of CCL’s Healthcare Vertical team and was responsible for developing a laser-focused business, sales, research, and marketing approach to CCL’s role in meeting the demands of the industry, as well as driving culturally competent patient care models where the healthcare industry and leadership development intersect. He holds a BS in Biology from Virginia State University, an MSc in Biomedical Science from Eastern Virginia Medical School, and an MBA from Averett University.
Amy Martinez
Amy is a Product Manager at CCL, where she manages CCL’s open-enrollment portfolio of leadership development courses. She has also managed programs specifically for CCL’s Healthcare clients. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.

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