The overwhelming changes being thrust upon the healthcare sector is unprecedented. In order to be best positioned for the future of value-based care, physician leaders will be called upon to rally entire organizations around new requirements. Today, healthcare organizations are being measured by the results they achieve; the value or efficiency with which they achieve good outcomes, and improvements in performance resulting from a focus on teamwork through superior coordination, information sharing and teaming across disciplines.
The future of healthcare is integration, which cannot happen without effective physician leadership. Implementing a transformative leadership development program designed to close the gap between the rigorous demands of a changing healthcare environment and the traditional medical paradigm has become a strategic advantage for many healthcare systems. Development often begins with a focus on physician leaders and eventually incorporates dyad partners and executives to ensure alignment and sustainable leadership development.
When considering a physician leadership program, we recommend focusing on those that offer development in both skills and engagement. As a result, physicians can learn the role requirements as well as the leadership behaviors that will support new roles. Physician leadership programs modeled after best practices for adult learning, which includes a range of learning modalities, are often the most effective. These programs include:
- Experiential learning experiences
- Coaching and mentoring
- Customized learning modules including approaches and exercises for participants to apply learnings following the session
By way of example, one of the largest healthcare systems serving the Metro New York and New Jersey area recognized that the shift taking place in the healthcare spectrum would require physician leader support and alignment with the organization’s strategy and vision for the future. The health system’s administration also realized it needed to facilitate an open dialogue with the physician leaders to enable them to become effective members of the management team.
To that end, the system embarked on their journey through The Leadership Development Group’s (TLD Group) Applied Physician Leadership Academy™ (APLA©). The implementation of APLA enabled the system’s physician leaders to develop their leadership prowess real-time while creating solutions to address many of the system’s most pressing needs. The leaders learned valuable skill sets including how to enhance physician performance in their departments, how to create high performing clinical care teams, how to lead with authenticity, and business fundamentals for physician leaders.
Another large healthcare system located in California utilized the APLA to develop its physician, nurse, and administrative leaders as partners in team-based care delivery to be better positioned for the future of value-based care. The system’s APLA included a Dyad Activation Process, an experiential learning platform to enable clinical dyads to enhance their collaborative leadership skills in an effort to enhance patient outcomes and to drive alignment on the system’s goals. The Dyad Activation Process enabled teams to identify solutions to problems that provided immediate, measurable impact and organizational results while developing dyad leadership competencies and skills. As a result, the system’s patient satisfaction scores jumped from the 14th to the 76th percentile, and dyad partners reported significant improvement in alignment compared to one-year prior.
Our experience suggests that physician leadership development programs that are grounded in specific leadership competencies and apply concurrent learning modalities are most effective. This approach enables participants to learn through experiential training, project work, and individual assessment, mentoring and coaching. When applied in tandem, these learning approaches enable personal growth and development while enhancing organizational performance through a focus on the most pressing strategic priorities.