Cooperating for better care.

Robert Whitcomb

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From physician to physician leader

An article on the site of Harvard’s school of public health discusses the best ways to transition from physician to physician leader. Among the observations:

“‘In order to succeed, physician leaders need enough training to know what questions to ask, what they’ll need from others, and what potential strategies they can use,’ says Mary C. Finlay, MBA, Program Director of Leadership Development for Physicians in Academic Health Centers and Lecturer in the Division of Policy Translation and Leadership Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. ‘They also need to understand broader market trends and changes that could impact their ability to grow or develop their division or department.’

“Once they have a grasp on these key areas, leaders can start to conduct analyses and take stock of potential problems or areas for improvement within their department. In order to succeed, physician leaders need enough training to know what questions to ask, what they’ll need from others, and what potential strategies they can use.”

Hit this link to read the article.

Physician leaders associated with better hospital quality metrics.

A study published in 2019 suggests that hospitals do better in health-care-quality metrics when they’re run by physicians than by nonphysicians, while physician leaders’ financial performance is as high as nonphysicians’.

Hit this link to read about it:,.8.aspx

Chief wellness officers seem particularly useful now

An article in NEJM Catalyst discusses the rising importance of a new kind of senior health-care executive — the chief wellness officer (CWO).

The article notes that “by incorporating CWOs into the emergency command structure, these health-care organizations were equipped to identify and address health care worker needs throughout the {COVID-19} pandemic. CWOs learned important lessons regarding how health-care organizations can best address workforce well-being in the midst of a crisis. Key CWO contributions include identifying evolving sources of worker anxiety, deploying support resources, participating in operational decision-making, and assessing the impact of fluid pandemic protocols on clinician well-being. As HCOs seek to promote post-traumatic growth, attention to the well-being of the workforce should be incorporated into emergency management protocols with the goal of sustaining a resilient health care workforce.”

Hit this link to read the full article.

The Prince, written by Niccolò Machiavelli (pictured), argued that it is better for a ruler to be feared than loved, if you cannot get both.both

BMJ article looks at effectiveness of development programs for physician leaders

The Prince, written by Niccolò Machiavelli (pictured), argued that it is better for a ruler to be feared than loved, if you cannot get both.

Do programs to develop physician leaders actually work? A BMJ Leader (as in British Medical Journal) article notes that “leader development has been the signature feature of leading companies and appears to be a burgeoning interest in healthcare organisations, it is important to assess the impact of such programmes, especially as resources are expended towards them in an era of constrained resources in healthcare. The impact and value of programmes must be addressed individually, and each activity must be contextualised for the culture and priorities of the institution. While some available studies demonstrate value and high organisational impact for such programmes, it appears that rigorous studies are relatively few and that most available studies document self-reported….

“Assessments of the various Cleveland Clinic programmes represent our attempt to assess the impact of physician leader programmes on organisational performance. Future goals for this research are to further examine both the learning, behavioural, and organisational impact of alumni of leader development programmes and to consider their cost-effectiveness (eg, by comparing the programme costs with the financial impact of initiatives led by programme alumni).”

To read the article, please hit this link.

Leveraging implementation science

An article in NEJM Catalyst looks at the major shifts to come over this decade in the design of health systems and health care in general, propelled by digital health, growing consumerism, mounting financial constraints, and accelerated by COVID-19.

The authors conclude:

“It will not be easy to get to this new world, and it will be realized faster in some places and domains than others. However, if payment systems reward organizations and practitioners for doing better, we believe they will find ways to innovate and successful innovations will spread rapidly. Some innovation will rely on digital technology and AI, but much of it will relate to leveraging the techniques of implementation science — the scientific study of implementing research findings in practice, moving care away from hospitals, and bringing together health and social care.”

Please this link to read the article.

Global lessons for U.S. primary care

An article in NEJM Catalyst uses a global survey of innovative health-delivery to imagine the future of primary care.

It looks at provider organizations in Mexico, sub-Saharan Africa, Nepal and Rwanda as examples of approaches/programs that can be used to improve primary and preventive care in the United States.

To read the article, please hit this link.

He’s upbeat about post-COVID health-care sector

Graphic by K. Aainsqatsi

An article in Physicians Practice by John Nantz looks at the future of the health-care business after COVID-19.

Among his observations:

“Now, the business of healthcare seems to be well on the road to recovery. Recent research conducted by my firm, Redwood Advisors, and Evolve Healthcare Marketing indicates that practice volumes have been steadily returning. Roughly 25% of practices have already seen patient volume return to a pre-COVID level, and another nearly 25% expect it to return by the end of Q1 2021. In contrast, less than 10% believe practice volume will return after Q2 of next year, and only 18% remain “uncertain” as to when volume will return.”

The article concludes: “In light of the November {and after} surge in cases, it is possible that businesses, including physician practices, may be heading to another slow-down. However, with PPE, staff bonuses, and telemedicine structures now in place, practices will be well-equipped to weather COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders.

To read the article, please hit this link.

Nurturing trust in pandemic

  • Ghazala Q. Sharieff, M.D., chief medical officer at Scripps Health, writes in NEJM Catalyst about senior management’s engendering of, and maintaining, trust among physicians, other staff and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, and implementing several mechanisms for ensuring that communication is regular and transparent and addresses the needs of the community.

To read the article, please hit this link.

The future of the CMO

In a NEJM Catalyst conversation with Thomas H. Lee, M.D., Andrew Masica, M.D., chief medical officer of Texas Health Resources, discusses how the new generation of CMOs will need to be comfortable being innovative change agents as the market heads toward value-based care.

He describes three different kinds of CMO’s.

To read the dialogue, please hit this link.

Partly scary predictions for hospitals in 2021

Robert King of Fierce Healthcare has come up with five predictions for the hospital business in 2021. They are:

“Hospital consolidation likely to increase at a rapid pace.”

“Patient volumes will continue to be disrupted.”

“An unstable payer mix could roil finances.”

“Telehealth visits will continue to skyrocket.”

“Don’t expect a major new round of relief funding.”

To read the article, please hit this link.

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