New healthcare reimbursement and delivery systems mean more clinicians have a career path that leads to the top of the organizational chart. While the majority of hospitals today do not have physicians at the helm, more and more doctors and nurses are taking on key leadership roles, due in part to health care reform.
While operations and finances once held precedence, they are now sharing the limelight with patient outcomes and satisfaction. With revenues now being closely tied to patient safety, satisfaction and care, and price transparency and accountability now mandates, a new set of skills and qualifications are necessary at the highest levels. At the very least, health care facilities will need to begin advancing physicians and nurses to leadership roles in concert with operations leaders in order to better assess and address all facets of patient care.
Physician Executives Wanted
Although the demand for clinical executives is heating up, finding this level of talent is difficult to say the least. Physicians fulfill the clinical expertise needed for the role, but often lack administrative or operational insight and the necessary advanced degrees in business or healthcare administration.
That may quickly change, however. For the first time, healthcare has more students in MIT’s executive MBA program than any other industry, making up one in five members of the class of 2014. The trend of doctors getting MBAs has been growing in popularity since 2009, according to the Boston Globe, as surgeons, oncologists and anesthesiologists seek an executive MBA as a way to improve the overall patient experience.
Hospitals are also increasingly seeking physicians to serve on hospital boards. This is perhaps due to growing research that clinician-led facilities are often more successful. A study in Social Science and Medicine found that the best run hospitals are those managed by physicians and not by non-clinical managers. And, researchers at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Germany looked at top-performing hospitals in cancer, digestive disorders, and heart surgery, and found the physician-run hospitals had a 25 percent higher quality score, compared to those run by nonclinical CEOs.