A Model of Physician Leadership in Key Service Lines

During a session at the Becker’s Hospital Review 4th Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 11, William Cors, MD, chief medical quality office at Pocono Health System in East Stroudsburg, Penn., explained how the traditional medical staff model cannot effectively address the all the responsibilities today’s medical staff faces. He outlined a leadership model based around key service lines that embraces the new dynamic while keeping the focus on patient care.  

Dr. Cors advocates a service line model where “everything organized around output;” that is, a structure built around staff members working towards administering a certain set of clinical services or producing certain outcomes. This means staff structured around one of the following: a comprehensive management of a related group of conditions, such as cancer; managing the care of maintaining the health of a particular segment of the population, such as women; or around a certain process or procedure, such as joint replacement.

The benefits of this model include a greater degree of accountability for clinical outcomes, the ability to focus on specialized training for clinical staff and a greater degree of motivation and collaboration among staff members, said Dr. Cors.

This model is led by dyad leadership, a collaboration between a physician and a non-physician, to both manage patient outcomes and oversee day-to-day operations. The chief medical executive is responsible for evidence-based practices and protocols, patient safety, quality metrics and related issues, and the chief executive is responsible for daily operations, budgeting, supply chain management and similar areas.

Dr. Cors stressed that this model is not one-size-fits-all, and would need to be adapted to best fit a hospital’s staff and needs. He recommends introducing this structure in one or two areas of a hospital, “something that is of strategic importance to your organization,” before rolling out the structure to the whole hospital or system.

Communication is also incredibly important to make the process run smoothly. “You need to communicate, and think how this is going to affect physicians already working within the organization,” he said.  “Think about who this is going to impact, and how,” he said, before transitioning to this model.

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