The Physician Executive Management Center in Tampa, Fla., has conducted an annual survey of chief medical officers since 1985. Here are findings from its 2000 survey, based on responses from 400 CMOs.
Demographics: Physician executives serving in a full-time CMO role in all organizations surveyed are on average 53 years old, 94% male and 99% board certified; and 98%have had previous clinical experience, of which 77% was in private practice.
Career: Thirty-three percent of these physician executives have an advanced management degree (mostly MBA) and 10% are currently pursuing a management degree (mostly MM). Thirty-five percent hope to become a CEO before they retire.
Compensation: Average base salary for a CMO position is $200,026, and average total compensation is $216,594 annually. Full-time CMOs who had been in a management position previous to their current position receive 16% higher compensation and are one-third more likely to have a bonus or incentive plan than their colleagues who currently are in their first management position. Also, this group reports having current clinical duties 40% less frequently and is twice as likely to have a management degree. Physicians in this group appear to have much fewer difficulties with physician relations and political issues than do their colleagues with less management experience.
Communication: The respondents consistently cited oral communications, motivation and persuasion skills as critical to their success as managers. They say physician relations are a difficulty faced in their job while patience is an important lesson they learned as executives.
Future: One-third of the respondents said they have no idea what their next career move will be, which suggests either a lack of career information, relatively little choice at the senior level or perhaps a resistance to change.