ACPE Publishes New White Paper on Value of Physician Leadership

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Evidence shows better performance at physician-led hospitals and health care systems.

A new white paper released by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) offers proof that physician leadership is essential to a better overall health care system.

The paper, titled The Value of Physician Leadership, combines an extensive literature review and interviews with more than a dozen health care health care professionals. The results show health care systems and hospitals perform better when physicians assume leadership roles.

“At ACPE, we have long recognized the importance of physician leadership, so it is gratifying to see the evidence support our beliefs,” said Peter Angood, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, FCCM, president and CEO of ACPE and the co-author of the paper. “It is clear that physician leaders are leading the way toward better patient safety, value and quality in health care.”

The paper cites several studies to support this claim, including the 2013 U.S. News and World Report rankings for hospitals. Those results show the top five are led by physicians, and 10 of the 18 ranked by the magazine are physician-led. In addition, CMS data shows that of the 21 of the 29 Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that saved enough to generate a bonus were physician-led.

According to interviews with health care professionals throughout the country, physicians have a variety of traits that make them desirable leaders, including:

  •     An extensive knowledge of patient care
  •     A shared history and a common language that give physician leaders credibility among their colleagues
  •     The respect and authority to win support for change

The paper found the demand for physician leaders continues to grow as health care organizations are increasingly recognized for their medical performance instead of their operational acumen. It also identifies the key competencies necessary for physicians to realize their leadership potential and discusses the need for physicians to work closely with other health care professionals – both clinical and non-clinical – as the benefits of team-based care become more widely recognized.

John R. Combes, MD, senior vice president of the American Hospital Association and chief operating officer of the AHA’s Center for Healthcare Governance, one of the many physician leaders interviewed for the paper, said it is unsurprising to see more physicians called upon to lead as health care grows more complex.

“Who better to address challenges faced by health care organizations today than those with experience on the front lines?” Combes asked.

Read the complete white paper. To arrange an interview with Dr. Peter Angood, email Carrie Johnson, ACPE P.R. manager, at cjohnson(at)acpe(dot)org or call 813-636-2807.

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Carrie Johnson
American College of Physician Executives
+1 (813) 636-2807
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