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The Need for Physician Leadership Development

It is critical now that medical practices take the steps needed “to retain, develop, and align [its] medical staff to meet the challenges of a fast-changing and highly competitive healthcare landscape.”  Good physician leaders can help achieve those goals.  This is the message in a recent post from Physicians Practice, “Medical Practices Must Focus on Physician Leadership Development.”

Equally important, however, is the need for physician leaders to see and develop opportunities as a result of forces in the very fast moving healthcare environment outside of their own medical practices.

Questions, like the following, are constantly swirling around medical practices, and I fear they are as often ignored as they are avoided:

  • Should we align with the hospital?
  • Should we join a large physician group?
  • Should we develop our own super group?
  • Should we join the hospital sponsored clinically integrated network?
  • Should we start our own network?

Hospitals and venture capitalists have the money, the time, and the leadership to develop and pursue healthcare business opportunities, and they are doing so. They are taking the lead in presenting answers to these questions. Physicians are at a disadvantage, because they rarely have the money or the time or, unfortunately, the leadership to be proactive in evaluating and accepting or rejecting opportunities as they present themselves.

If survival as independent practices is the goal, then in this highly competitive business environment, physician leadership has never been more important.  This has been the message of many physician practice commentators, including Kevin Pho, M.D. on his blog, as well as physician leadership training programs like the one done at the University of Cincinnati.

No one is waiting for physicians to step.  When they do, they can control their professional destiny. When they don’t or can’t, others will be in control.

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