Leadership
Clip
Managing Physicians Is Like the Atkins Diet (02:14)

“Managing physicians is like being on the Atkins diet. You don’t actually live longer, it just feels longer,” says Richard Zane, Chief Innovation Officer for UCHealth. “How do we go about setting up a process so that that’s not the case? So that there’s an alignment of vernacular, to say the least?”

Physicians and physician leaders are motivated because they now have to perform and work in groups — and they can tell when that doesn’t go well, says Thomas Lee, NEJM Catalyst’s Leadership Board Founder. “When I first met Raffaella [Sadun], she made a comment about how many physician leaders don’t know how to run a meeting. I got very nervous. I was thinking, how did you run a meeting?” Lee has been to and run meetings that didn’t go well because they didn’t have a structure, and he’s been to meetings that have gone well, but he isn’t sure why. “It’s not just the people at the top, it’s the people in the middle, closer to the front lines, who have to start to learn these basic tools,” says Lee.

“I do believe that it’s a matter of how we communicate with management,” adds Harvard Business School Professor Raffaella Sadun. “Today, the perception is that management is an imposition from the top, and it is something that is pushing you away from doing what you’ve spent so many years trying to do, which is care, providing health to your patients.” But management, when well done, says Sadun, can help physicians provide better care and can even improve the way they feel about how they’re doing their job. “There’s a bit of context that has to be provided,” she says.

From the NEJM Catalyst event Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians at Intermountain Healthcare, July 12, 2017.

More From Leadership
Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

Leadership Survey: Ability to Lead Does Not Come from a Degree

NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members strongly favor dyad leadership shared between clinical and administrative leaders and say the top attribute for health care leaders is interpersonal skills.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

Leading in a VUCA World: Volatile, Uncertain, Ambiguous

Small nuances become powerful drivers of not only how we engage our patients, but also how we engage our colleagues.

Key Dates for the Affordable Care Act

Repeal efforts may be on the shelf for now, but several upcoming important milestones will affect the performance of the Affordable Care Act in the next insurance enrollment period.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

My Favorite Slide: Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important for Leadership

Emotional intelligence is an important driver of organizational performance in health care.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

Parental Leave Policies: Leading by Example

How we train — and treat — our resident physicians is more important now than ever.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

Coaching to Enhance Individual Well-Being, Foster Teamwork, and Improve the Health Care System

Coaching interventions may help to turn the tide on physician burnout.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

The Critical Window of Medical School: Learning to See People Before the Disease

How a classic experiment could shape the future of medical education.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

The Real Danger of Increasing Resident Work Hours

The debate on work hours is just as unimaginative as it is outmoded.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

Integrity and Reputation Are the Most Important Things One Has

The new CEO of SSM Health is listening to stories, not telling her own.

Physicians Leading | Leading Physicians

Tools to Live Your Values AND Succeed

Tools to give people in your organization a clarity of direction, the ability to work with each other, and the desire to build forward to serve a higher purpose.

Connect

A weekly email newsletter featuring the latest actionable ideas and practical innovations from NEJM Catalyst.

Learn More »

Topics

Team Care

65 Articles

Surviving — and Thriving — in…

What can the health care industry learn from the 1914 Endurance expedition? For one thing:…

Leading Teams

93 Articles

Surviving — and Thriving — in…

What can the health care industry learn from the 1914 Endurance expedition? For one thing:…

Leading Transformation

143 Articles

Surviving — and Thriving — in…

What can the health care industry learn from the 1914 Endurance expedition? For one thing:…

Insights Council

Have a voice. Join other health care leaders effecting change, shaping tomorrow.

Apply Now