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
Amy Merlino and Tom Lee head shots

“Humanware” vs. Software

Will those who recall the lost art of paper prescriptions contribute, or gracefully bow out, to technology?

The Ship Model of Leadership and Leadership Skills

The Importance of Leadership to Organizational Success

Effective leadership is built on a solid foundation consisting of a clear mission, a vision for the future, a specific strategy, and a culture conducive to success.

Is Improvement a Matter of Urgency?

The desire to minimize bad news is why so many change efforts lurch from start. But urgency means results are needed, not just activity.

Namita Mohta and James_Stoller

Leadership Pearls: Small Nuances Are Powerful Drivers

There’s a difference between leaders who are physicians, and physicians who happen to lead. So what is it, and how do we find it?

Four Ingredients for Engaging Physicians in a Network Setting

A former physician network leader offers tips on building an environment conducive to change.

Christopher O'Connor and Tariq Ahmad

How Do You Identify and Develop Talent?

A young leader in cardiology interviews his former mentor, Christopher O’Connor, on what it means to be a good leader in medicine.

Marc Harrison and Tom Lee_150

Coming from the Outside and Driving Change

Intermountain Healthcare’s CEO says it’s about connecting with what communities believe in.

Building a Better Physician Compensation and Performance Model

Spectrum Health Medical Group designed a physician compensation model that not only rewarded physicians for providing consistent high-quality patient care, but also motivated them to do so.

plietz-engagement

Becoming an Employer of Choice

How WellStar Health System reached a 97th percentile employee engagement score by prioritizing trust and retention.

Physician-Led Coaching to Improve Patient Experience Scores

The value of physician-to-physician communication and feedback cannot be overemphasized.

Connect

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

Learn More »

Topics

Leading Transformation

230 Articles

Seven Challenges and Seven Solutions for…

Salient lessons learned over multiple electronic health record implementations.

Leading Teams

154 Articles

Seven Challenges and Seven Solutions for…

Salient lessons learned over multiple electronic health record implementations.

Team Care

98 Articles

Seven Challenges and Seven Solutions for…

Salient lessons learned over multiple electronic health record implementations.

Insights Council

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

Apply Now