Physician Executives–Effective Collaborators and Partners

By Topic: Physician relations PhysicianClinical Relationships Leadership Leadership Development By Collection: Blog

Physician executives gathered around a table in a conference room

As inherent leaders, more physicians are entering the C-suite or joining administrative teams as change agents and strategic decision makers. As healthcare moves from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement and to a value-based delivery system, it is of utmost importance that physician leaders receive the executive training needed be effective collaborators and partners.

As noted by Andrew N. Garman, PsyD, and Carson F. Dye, FACHE, co-authors of The Healthcare C-Suite: Leadership Development at the Top, many new physicians have strong professional identities that they felt “called to” at a relatively early age. For these physicians, their work is as much who they are as what they do. Advocacy on behalf of their patients is often a key part of this professional identity. During their tenure, they often feel suspicious of management involvement and even intruded upon as they care for patients. Thus, the transition to a leadership role often involves an unforeseen renegotiation of identity.

According to Garman and Dye, unexpected changes may arise for new physician leaders, such as diminished opportunities for direct patient contact that may lead to a loss of professional identity. Other conundrums come from the intellectual and persuasive communications "horsepower" with which physicians entering leadership roles possess, versus business experience deficits in finance, operations and marketing. Accustomed to reaching clear clinical decisions, many new physician leaders may initially struggle with vague guidelines for management decision making.

Fortunately, most physicians are quick studies and able to master these skills through executive education programs. Jon Burroughs, MD, FACHE, talks about the changing role of the physician in America and how ACHE education can benefit physicians transitioning into leadership roles.

To help organizations focus specifically on the needs of physician leader education, ACHE is introducing Choice, a new service that tailors professional development programs, seminars and assessments to meet an organization’s learning needs or close competency gaps. Choice allows programs like Physician and Executive Partnerships: Hard Facts, Soft Skills to be customized and held in a private, organization-only setting.

ACHE program specialists help assess needs, build a program scope and provide resources to promote the event. Similar to an ACHE in-person event, Choice programs can include:

  • Expert faculty
  • Customized formats (seminars, workshops or assessments)
  • Education credits (ACHE Face-to-Face Education or ACHE continuing medical education)

Choice offers one more options for supporting physicians as they transition into executive leadership roles.