Give Your Physicians an Incentive to Lead

Philip Betbeze, August 19, 2011

Physicians don't respect authority.

Now before you fire up your email eviscerations and your Twitter tirades over that statement, let me finish. Of course, this is not always true. And sometimes when physicians exhibit disrespect, they have good reason.

Authority suggests being dictated to. Leadership suggests collaboration.

It's been said that physicians will adapt to changes in practice if they get data proving it's the best move for the patient. Banner Health, a 14-hospital system based in Phoenix, is testing that assumption.

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Before ACOs, bundled payments and the continuum of care became the coin of the realm of healthcare, leaders at hospitals and health systems were often seen by physicians as following their own interests (and to be fair, vice versa).

That is, the interests of the hospital or health system, which often didn't coincide with the interests of the physicians who were being dictated to. Thus, they did not follow. But smart organizations are changing the way they seek to lead physicians to new ways of practicing medicine in which the patient's well being is the key.

Thus the overused buzzword 'physician alignment.' But boiled down, the key might just be that they're injecting physicians into the leadership structure—something hospitals and health systems have had trouble doing in the past.

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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