Are physicians the ideal hospital leaders? 4 key notes

Several studies suggest that when physicians are at a hospital's helm, the hospital is more likely to be successful, according to a Harvard Business Review article.

Here are four key notes on what makes physicians so adept at leading hospitals, pulled from the Harvard Business Review piece.

1. A 2011 study published in Social Science & Medicine looked at CEOs of the top 100 hospitals in cancer, gastroenterology and cardiology, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The analysis found quality scores for hospitals run by physicians were approximately 25 percent higher than in hospitals run by managers. While researchers did not establish that physicians are more effective hospital leaders than professional managers, it did find in each of the three areas that hospitals ranked higher by U.S. News & World Report were headed disproportionately by physicians.

2. The Harvard Business Review article's authors also cite research by Nick Bloom, Raffaella Sadun and John Van Reenen, which examined management practices across U.S. hospitals and hospitals in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Sweden and U.K. The research ultimately found hospitals that employ a larger share of clinically trained managers are significantly better managed than those that do not.

3. Additionally, a 2016 study found a boss's technical competence greatly influences employee job satisfaction. "Similarly, physician-leaders may know how to raise the job satisfaction of other clinicians, thereby contributing to enhanced organizational performance," the Harvard Business Review article's authors wrote.

4. Lastly, the Harvard Business Review article's authors said their research suggests if a manager understands from experience what is needed to finish a job, then they may be more likely to create the right work environment to do so. "Having an expert leader at the helm, such as an exemplary physician, may also send a signal to external stakeholders, such as new hires or patients, about organizational priorities," they wrote.


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