Physician Leaders Are Valued
In recent years, leading healthcare organizations have begun to encourage physicians to pursue leadership positions, and in fact, many of the most prominent hospitals in America are currently run by physicians. Indeed, the business of healthcare has never been more complex than it is today, and there is a clear benefit to having physician leaders who are not only experts in patient care but also the business side of medicine. It is for this reason that the American Board of Physician Specialties® developed the American Board of Administrative Medicine, the country’s first Member Board dedicated to providing board certification in this emerging specialty. One of the first Diplomates of ABAM, Richard Paula, CMIO at Shriners Hospital for Children, explained that ABAM “recognizes the efforts of physician executives who endeavor to impact patient care from an operational perspective.”
In an article in the Harvard Business Review, the authors explored what makes physicians adept at leading healthcare organizations as well as some of the inherent challenges that must be overcome to be a decisive, competent leader. As it turns out, one of the best things that physicians in leadership positions have is credibility among their staff. They know what it takes to deliver patient care, manage heavy workloads, hire qualified staff, and walk the walk, so to speak. In fact, the article concludes that “having spent their careers looking through a patient-focused lens, physicians moving into executive positions might be expected to bring a patient-focused strategy.” This respect from subordinates for managers with specialty experience is not unique to the medical field – people want to work for people who are perceived to be experts in the domain specialty – but it is acutely shown in many healthcare environments.
Yet, not all physicians are inherently equipped to lead. As the Harvard Business Review notes, “physician-leaders appear to be the most effective leaders precisely because they are physicians,” and yet, “physicians have traditionally been trained in ‘command and control’ environments as ‘heroic lone healers’ who are collaboratively challenged.” The solution, it seems, is to provide physicians with enthusiasm for leadership the training and skillset required to effectively manage, and in recent years, many healthcare organizations and medical schools have invested training programs for future physician leaders.
The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) recognized the growing importance of physicians with joint medical and business backgrounds and developed ABAM to provide standardized board certification to leading physician candidates. If you are interested in learning more about ABAM or pursuing board certification in Administrative Medicine, contact the ABPS today.