The importance of medical leadership


The goal of many healthcare providers is the triple goal: better care at a lower cost with a focus on a positive patient experience. Providers with these goals need strong medical leaders to help them achieve them. More provider organizations are beginning to recognize the importance of medical leadership to be successful.

The American Medical Association states in its whitepaper Integrated Leadership for Hospitals and Health Systems: Principles for Success that health administrators must work with medical leaders to achieve their goals. A relationship based on mutual trust between physicians, clinical staff, and administrators is vital to providing patient-centered care. To quote the article: “Integrated leadership may benefit patients by focusing on developing new channels for patient engagement and delivering care in a way that eliminates overuse, underuse, and misuse of medical devices. resources while increasing physician professional satisfaction, building relationships of trust and financial stability for both physicians and hospitals. “

One of the principles of healthcare and lean manufacturing is that the best measurable results occur when the people closest to patients or customers provide information about the care or manufacturing process. Therefore, it is sensitive that clinicians, who together with the rest of the clinical staff are closer to the patients, can provide meaningful information on the best processes to provide effective care while avoiding waste and duplication, thus saving costs. Integrating physicians into leadership positions ensures that such knowledge is incorporated into care processes.

Recently, I was discussing medical leadership with my own primary care physician, Dr. Daniel Harro of Mercy Health Physicians Partners. He said it has been important to him and his medical colleagues that they are represented by Dr. David Blair as president and chief medical officer of Mercy Health Physician Partners. They consider it important that you still meet with patients on a weekly basis. Dr. Blair has helped this group move from being a group of independent physicians to a partnership with Trinity Health of Livonia, Michigan. It has also guided primary care physicians to be accredited as patient-centered medical homes with many of the offices achieving level 3 designation.

In December 2016, the Harvard Business Review in an article titled Why the best hospitals are run by doctors He noted that the best quality hospitals are run by doctors. According to US News and World Report, the best hospital is Mayo Clinic. It is led by the highly qualified physician John Noseworthy. The second-highest hospital, Cleveland Clinic, is run by physician Delos “Toby” Cosgrove. The article further states that of the top 100 hospitals in the US, those that are run by physicians have a 25% higher quality score than those that are not.

The Medical Group Management Association also emphasizes the importance of medical leadership. In a survey of its members, it was found that around 60% of the respondents stated that they use a dyad management style on their sites. The leaders are a practice manager and a doctor. Because each shares responsibility for the success of the group, it is extremely important that the two of you integrate effectively to provide leadership and direction to the sites, most of which are ambulatory. MGMA suggests that the two leaders first consider how their leadership styles complement each other and where they might conflict. In doing so, they must live to present a united front to the staff. As Stephen Covey says in The 7 habits of highly effective people The two leaders should think win-win when considering in which direction to guide the practice staff. MGMA recommends that the two leaders focus on several skills to be successful:

· Have a vision and stick with it. As Stephen Covey says, start with the end in mind

· See change as an opportunity. Change appears to be accelerating today and leaders must be agile in adapting to respond to changes imposed in practice and must also explore what changes can improve the results of practice.

· Understand the risks. Leaders must be able to assess the risks faced by the practice and must lead the practice to overcome risks and capitalize on risks.

· Unify the staff. Make sure each staff member understands the importance and responsibilities of their roles in practice. Leaders must develop teamwork among staff.

· Think of the practice as a business. To provide the best care at the lowest price, leaders must ensure that the practice runs as an efficient business. The healthcare business model is unique and complex.

Clinicians, as leaders, must see the entire structure of the organization that provides care. In an outpatient setting, for example, the medical leader must look beyond the physicians who provide direct patient care. They must also understand the processes of the main office, receptionist and registration staff, billing and collections staff, administrative leaders, and other personnel that are important to providing services that support physicians and the business structure of the organization. While understanding and participating in processes outside of clinical care, the medical leader must also affirm that medical staff can provide effective care to patients without interference from management. That is, physicians should feel free to provide patient-centered clinical care that conforms to best medical practices using the unique skills of each physician. Leading physicians must build trust among administrative leaders that clinical staff provide patient-centered care.

The pace of change in health service delivery is a challenge today. In fact, there is great uncertainty about the structure of reimbursements and the business models that providers should adopt. Because the current risk appears to be high, it is very important that organizations partner effectively with medical leaders to address day-to-day risks and develop effective models for delivering patient care. The importance of medical leadership is key to the success of providing effective care, to achieve the Triple Objective.

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