January 25, 2017

The Best Hospitals Are Managed by Doctors

Physician leadership more credible to peers and patients


James K. Stoller, MD, MS, Chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Education Institute, writes in Harvard Business Review that physician leadership is best for patients and all healthcare stakeholders. In “Why the Best Hospitals Are Managed by Doctors,” Dr. Stoller argues that perspectives assuming doctors are not suited for leadership roles are a thing of the past, as today’s emphasis on patient-centered care and clinical outcomes needs the guidance of those who have “walked the walk.” Top hospitals like Cleveland Clinic have been physician-led since their inception, training their doctors in leadership competencies and teambuilding.


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Recent studies show that healthcare is not the only industry where having a boss who is an expert in the core business is a plus. In fact, research suggests that a manager who understands what it takes to complete a task at the highest standard creates the right work environment and encourages higher levels of employee satisfaction.

Leadership programs for physicians like those at Cleveland Clinic encourage innovation and create projects that have positive institutional impact. A follow-up to the initial physician leadership course a decade ago shows that 43 percent of the physician participants have been promoted to leadership positions. More information on today’s programs is available at The Cleveland Clinic Way: Intensives, Samson Global Leadership Academy or Executive Visitors’ Program.

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