WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 9, 2023 – The American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) and Korn Ferry today issued a white paper,, which highlights measurable ways that physician leadership benefits healthcare.
“Physician leaders are essential to healthcare leadership teams, and their expertise has been embraced by their leadership colleagues in finance, human resources, and other administrative positions. The importance of their role was underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic, when patients and the public relied foremost on physician leaders for guidance to navigate the crisis,” the white paper states.
“As the pandemic recedes from the crisis-management stage, the healthcare industry is returning its attention to other challenges that require physicians to help create and execute successful strategies across a wide variety of clinical delivery environments, including the move to value-based care delivery, the need to address myriad social determinants of health, the imperative to reduce health and healthcare disparities, and others.”
Among the key findings of the report:
Evidence demonstrates that physician-led hospitals outperform other hospitals. Non- physician healthcare executives have welcomed physician leaders into their ranks, and top-performing organizations recognize the need for more physician leaders.
Research documents that when physicians are CEOs of healthcare delivery systems, those organizations achieve scores on some well-recognized quality metrics that are up to 33% better than those of comparable institutions that don’t have a physician at the helm.
The advantage of physician leadership can also be viewed this way: The top tier in the U.S. News & World Report annual “Best Hospital Honor Roll” is perennially dominated by health systems with CEOs who are physicians.
Physician-led hospitals provide high-quality care. Of the 399 hospitals recognized by Healthgrades for outstanding patient experience in 2022, 55 are physician-led. In other words, although physician-led hospitals account for fewer than 5% of hospitals with patient experience ratings, they received nearly 14% of the outstanding-performance awards.
Physician-led hospitals provide a superior patient experience. In the most recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) report, physician-led hospitals had an average patient experience rating of 3.9, compared to 3.2 for all hospitals. Just 6% of hospitals overall received the highest rating in this category, but 41% of physician-led hospitals did.
“All physicians are leaders, and universal leadership development for physicians is an effective strategy for retention and recruitment, increasing physician well-being, and improving the well-being of the people they supervise,” say the paper’s authors, Peter B. Angood, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, MCCM, FAAPL(Hon), and Charles M. Falcone, MD, MBA. “Physicians have dedicated their lives to helping others, and they are ready and willing to help their organizations meet the challenges of the day. Their passion for making things better deserves support in the form of leadership development.”
About the American Association for Physician Leadership®
The American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) is focused on the personal transformation of all physicians, and through them the organizations they serve. With the goal of improving patient outcomes, workforce wellness, and a refinement of all healthcare delivery, AAPL has remained the only association solely focused on providing professional development, leadership education, and management training exclusively for physicians. Since its founding in 1975, AAPL has educated 250,000+ physicians across 40 countries—including CEOs, chief medical officers, and physicians at all levels of healthcare.
About Korn Ferry
Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.