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New roles for physicians in today’s transformed healthcare organization - Fall 2015
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Silver Corporate Contributor Feature

By Amy Goble. Vice President.

Physician employment by hospitals has risen by more than 54% since 2000.(1) In fact, over 244,000 physicians have found positions in hospitals forto a variety of reasons: changes in lifestyle, decreased interest in owning a business, levels of regulation, and more. At the same time, hospitals are seeking out physicians as a way to increase coordination, improve quality and manage costs.

As more physicians go to work for hospitals, a number of trends are shaping their roles in today’s evolving healthcare system:

Hospitalist care. One of the fastest growing specialties, hospitalist practices now exist in at least 70% of hospitals — with focus moving beyond internal medicine to acute care surgery, OB, neurology, orthopedics and even dermatology. (2) The practice of hospital medicine has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, with continued growth projected due to the aging population.

Primary care. According to the physician search and consulting firm Merritt Hawkins, family medicine is the most requested search assignment.(4) Increased access to insurance is driving up demand for primary care visits, along with the aging population and a focus on population health initiatives. Physicians are taking leading roles in organizations’ population health management initiatives.

Clinical informatics. Population health initiatives require focus and attention to data and analytics efforts. As data-driven care becomes integral to hospitals’ care delivery, physicians are well-suited to lead and participate in these initiatives.

Leadership positions. According to CEOs surveyed by the American Hospital Association, only 10% of hospital CEOs are physicians.(1) Executive leadership within the hospital has not been a traditional path for physicians, due in part to the fact that most medical schools do not currently include formal business training. However, with more than half of new physicians entering the field as salaried employees, the potential pool of physician leaders has grown exponentially larger. Hospitals and health systems are seeing that it’s critical to partner with physicians on the journey to new care models, including accountable care organizations (ACOs). In fact, many organizations today are rethinking their relationships with physicians — and some have identified that an integrated physician-hospital leadership model is the solution to help address changing needs in their organizations. To help organizations achieve success in developing successful models, the AHA, through the Physician Leadership Forum, has created Guiding Principles for integrated leadership. We encourage you to visit this resource to learn more.

Several key individual characteristics stand out as indicators of success for leadership. Look for these skill sets in your recruitment of physicians into leadership roles:

  • Adaptability
  • Ability to show empathy
  • Catalyst for change / change agent
  • Builds relationships with peers and team
  • Recognizes contribution of others

Physicians who bring these and other leadership skills to the table, along with clinical expertise, are better suited to facilitate transformational change within their organizations and for the benefit of the patient. As organizations tap physicians for more leadership roles, professional development can be a proactive way to set individuals up for success and improve retention and professional satisfaction.

In the search for experienced physician talent, the HealthCareerCenter can provide a practical, strategic solution for meeting your physician recruitment goals. For more information, contact Chris Stone at 312.895.2517 or visit

1 “2014 Environmental Scan,” American Hospital Association, January 2014
2 Health Forum, AHA Annual Survey of Hospitals 1998-2013
3 “Physician Leadership, the Rx for Healthcare Transformation,” Mo Kasti, The Physician Leadership Institute, 2015
4 “2015 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives,” Merritt Hawkins
** 2015 Healthcare Talent Acquisition Environmental Scan”,


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