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Management and leadership development in healthcare and the challenges facing physician managers in clinical practice

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Abstract:

The organisation and delivery of healthcare in many countries is in various stages of transition. Associated with this transition is a significant shift in patients' expectations of healthcare. As a result there is an increasing need for healthcare providers with a different and specific set of competencies. One of these competencies is the physician's role as manager for which the undergraduate and postgraduate medical training programmes in many countries have undergone extensive reform. As frontline healthcare providers therefore, physicians increasingly need basic and essential managerial and leadership skills to conduct their professional roles effectively. The current situation in postgraduate medical training shows that the development of managerial competencies in physicians is inadequate and that more training in this domain is required. The analysis in this paper emphasises that training physicians in healthcare management and leadership seems to be a logical step towards realising affordable and effective healthcare delivery. However, it also discusses the reality in current practice where the decision-making processes in hospital organisations are being dominated by non-physician hospital administrators compared to qualified physician managers.

It is the author's view that despite their training, qualified physician managers are not being given the opportunity to participate enough in the healthcare decision-making processes. As a result, a vital resource in improving healthcare delivery is running a risk of being underutilised.

Keywords: CLINICAL PRACTICE; HEALTHCARE; LEADERSHIP; MANAGEMENT; PHYSICIAN MANAGERS; TRAINING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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