Grooming M.D. Leaders

By Carson F. Dye

CEOs need to target and develop physicians to play leading roles in health care transformation

Perhaps the greatest challenge health care organizations face over the next decade is physician engagement. As integration and value-driven care continue to advance, physician leaders will be increasingly called upon to meet the demands of a changing landscape. “Effective physician leadership will ensure physician engagement.” Although this simple axiom states an essential truth, its results can be difficult to achieve. That’s why boards must count physician engagement and leadership among their organization’s top strategic priorities. For many years I conducted CEO searches for health care organizations.

Demonstrating strong physician relations skills and collaborative working relationships with physician leaders was a key requirement boards had for all prospective candidates. In today’s changing health care environment, those skills are more important than ever. Executives who involve physicians in decision-making, strategy development and other leadership activities can be recruited for that alone. Hiring a CEO with a track record of developing physician leaders is a board imperative. Creating a robust system to identify potential physician leaders is a critical first step for CEOs. Boards should ensure their CEOs are constantly on the lookout for future physician leaders and have formalized processes to cultivate them.

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