"It's absolutely critical as we go forward with whatever alignment strategies are, that we enable our physicians to be leaders," said Oliver Rogers, president of hospital-based services for TeamHealth in Knoxville, TN. "How do we jump-start the leadership skills for these physicians, because we don't have time for them to learn by the school of hard knocks? I think that emphasis on formal leadership training is going to be critical to this process of alignment."
Developing physician leadership seems to be one of the most difficult and important aspects of evolving care post healthcare reform, and is essential for clinical integration. I asked Carson F. Dye, co-author of the book, Developing Physician Leaders for Successful Clinical Integration about his feelings on the issue. There are many definitions of clinical integration, Dye wrote, but a "common theme emerges; quality improvement facilitated by physician engagement and leadership."
Dye sees clinical integration as a salvation of healthcare systems, citing a need for both physicians and hospitals to share in their work, technologically and clinically.
Physicians must get comfortable being partners with a hospital, especially about the business of number crunching. "While there are several elements that support successful clinical integration efforts, perhaps the most important one is the willingness of physicians to share quality data and consider the metrics that support quality improvement," Dye told me.