4 Hot Healthcare Exec Titles; 1 Not

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media , July 7, 2014

Healthcare hiring trends favor physician leaders with clinical knowledge and an aptitude for strategy, rather than only business school smarts.

Healthcare leadership roles are changing swiftly in response to shifts in payment models and the relentless pace of business consolidation. Executive teams and human resource executives are now carefully designing these roles for maximum strategic and clinical effect.

"For years, leadership said, 'throw another MBA [at the problem]. But that way of thinking doesn't work anymore," says Travis Singleton, senior vice president at Merritt Hawkins & Associates, a healthcare recruitment firm. "Hospitals and healthcare systems are going to need physicians who are active, strategic, and want to take an active role in shaping healthcare delivery systems."

Unlike the healthcare systems of a generation ago, most of these leadership positions aren't just jobs any MBA could hold down; these jobs require a physician with strategic ability and business sense.

"If you don't have 'em, grow 'em," says Singleton. "Take these physicians and make them leaders."

A Homegrown Approach to Physician Leadership

He suggests that HR look into leadership courses or physician MBA programs. "There are programs made for working physicians. You don't have to wait for that shining star to come along. Just take a strategically thinking, strong physician and put them through these courses," he said.

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