Physicians are returning to leadership roles

January 21, 2016

I was a hospital administrator for 30 years, all without ever providing medical care. That’s the norm — although physicians founded hospitals in earlier centuries, their focus constricted to patient care as the organizations grew in size and complexity. Professional administrators filled the gap to manage non-clinical areas, such as facilities, records, billing, finances and more.

While an understandable shift, that evolution has resulted in lack of physicians who help run hospitals. While some doctors had the credentials to be both credible physicians and administrators, they were often an uncomfortable hybrid, not embraced by either “camp.”

This is changing, it must change, and WSHA is helping to push the change.

As a state and a nation, we are moving into population-based medicine. The goal is not just to fix patients, but to make the entire community healthier. To do that, we need team-based medicine based on best practices. A hospital administration cannot implement best practices without physician leadership, and physicians can’t be successful without understanding their organizations.

The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) is doing an extraordinary job of educating, inspiring and engaging physician leaders in our state. With support from WSHA, WSMA has developed distance and in-person trainings to once again engage physicians in the running of hospitals. The value to WSHA members of this work has led to a collaborative effort to bring the WSMA program to a wider audience of hospitals with an on-site version of the program.

The need for this work is widely recognized, but there are a lot of competing demands for hospital resources. WSHA is working with WSMA to bring trainings into the hospitals and to engage existing administrators in the work of mentoring physicians. This partnership is an essential model for building the kind of health care system that values patients and their providers.

Hospital administrators who want to know more about this work can contact me about how this might work in their organizations. We would also be happy to provide consultative support in your work to develop physician leadership.


Scott Bond
President and CEO


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