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Characteristics of Physician Leaders Working to Improve the Quality of Care in Acute Myocardial Infarction

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Background: The influence of physician leaders on their colleagues in local medical communities has been recognized for several decades. However, the literature indicates that little is known about the specific characteristics of physician leaders involved in improving quality in today's hospital environment. A taxonomy of the characteristics of the physician quality leader from the perspective of physicians and nonphysicians was developed.

Subjects and methods: Information about physician leaders working to improve acute myocardial infarction (AMI) was gathered from in-depth interviews with 45 key physicians and nursing, quality management, and administrative staff at eight hospitals. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method of qualitative data analysis.

Results: The physician leader characteristics were described in four main categories: personal commitment, professional credibility, quality improvement behaviors and skills, and institutional linkages. Each physician leader possessed different combinations of the characteristics from the four categories, revealing the complexity of the physician leader role.

Conclusion: Understanding the key characteristics of physician leaders is a critical step in helping hospitals choose and develop physician leaders who can effectively bring about meaningful quality improvement.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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