Don't Expect Physicians to Lead Change

Philip Betbeze, October 4, 2013

Unless you take steps to equip them to do so, physicians will continue to be unprepared to lead changes in clinical guidelines critical to performing under healthcare reform.

A huge amount of change is in process within the American healthcare system, and physicians will play a huge part in whether or not healthcare costs will moderate and quality will improve. Trouble is, in most cases, they're unprepared to play a leading part. That's because the large majority have no leadership training.

Team-based care, which is at the foundation of reimbursement based on added value, is foreign to many of them, says David Nash, MD, MBA. He is dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, based at Philadelphia's Thomas Jefferson University.

See Also: Physician Retreats Bust 'Conspiracy of Silence'

I'm not revealing anything revolutionary here, but Nash says that's not necessarily their fault, because physicians are trained to lead themselves, not others. "Imagine a football team of docs," he says. "They don't know each other's names, they don't practice together and they all want to play quarterback when they play on Sunday and they want to play well. That's where we are in physician leadership."

Underlying the attempts to push for and deliver value on the insurance/employer/patient side and the provider/physician side, respectively, is a belief that physicians will work together with other physicians as well as their colleagues in nursing, case management, and with medical technicians, among others, to deliver efficient, coordinated care to patients.

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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