The Advantages of Physicians in Administrative Roles

Administrative MedicineAs health care in the United States becomes increasingly complex, more physicians are being asked to take on leadership roles in executive positions at hospitals and other health care organizations. There is growing evidence that this is a good thing, starting with the fact that the top five hospitals ranked by U.S. News and & World Report in 2013 were led by physicians − as were, in fact, 10 of the top 18. Recent data also showed that nearly three-quarters (21 of 29) of Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations that generated a bonus in 2013 were physician-led.

This evidence backs up what physicians themselves have suspected all along − that when it comes to providing the finest medical care in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, it pays to have a physician at the helm. A recent white paper published by the American College of Physician Executives, The Value of Physician Leadership, presented the evidence of better performance under physician executives and backed it up with interviews conducted with more than a dozen health care professionals. The study concluded that there are certain traits that give physicians an advantage when it comes to health care leadership. These include:

  • Extensive and up-to-date knowledge about patient care
  • Shared history and cultural background with other physicians, which provides an instant level of credibility
  • Respect and the authority that comes with understanding the challenges of providing the finest medical care

As a result of this increasing awareness of the effectiveness of physician leadership, institutions such as the University of Tennessee have begun to develop graduate-level programs for established physicians who wish to pursue an executive career path with training in business administration. There also is a growing movement toward seeking physician board certification in administrative medicine, which will allow physician executives to demonstrate a mastery of the core competencies required to lead effectively in the 21st century.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine