When I met with a physician leader at the massive Baylor Health Care System complex in Dallas, it was not to diagnose one of my ailments. Instead, Carl Couch, M.D., co-chairman of the Baylor Health Care Systems Best Care Committee, came to me in my role as an official of Southern Methodist Universitys Cox School of Business to discuss a serious organizational problem.
According to Couch, to achieve maximum clinical and operational results, todays healthcare organizations need physician leadership that is tightly integrated with the managers who arent physicians. But this is difficult because many physicians are not temperamentally disposed to leadership roles in organizations.
As Couch put it, physicians independent perspective often differs from organizational perspectives, yet harmonious reconciliation of those differences is critical for ideal healthcare delivery and improvement.
Furthermore, years of arduous clinical training do not provide physicians with the interpersonal, influencing and basic business skills needed to meet the demands placed on healthcare leaders today. As a result, many physicians often find themselves unprepared for the leadership rolesas hospital medical staff officers, department chiefs, group practice leaders and clinical service line managersnow asked of them.