AAPL-AHA Alliance Tackling Major Leadership Issues

By Andy Smith | AAPL
November 7, 2018

The primary areas of focus include the advancement of clinical and nonclinical administrative partnerships, workforce wellness and population health.

In many ways, a strategic alliance between the American Association for Physician Leadership and the American Hospital Association couldn’t have come at a better time.

With health care in a perpetual state of change, outcomes of the volatile midterm elections certainly will help produce some direction for the industry, requiring leaders to interpret and implement new policies without disrupting the quality of patient care. 

Change that improves health care is the foundation upon which the AAPL-AHA alliance was forged. While AAPL represents physician leaders who spearhead needed change, the AHA provides a platform for change to take place and supports operational efficiency in health care systems.

The alliance’s primary areas of focus include the advancement of clinical and nonclinical administrative partnerships, workforce wellness and population health.


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This paper reflects learnings from CMO-CNO dyads that maintain individual roles while moving organizations beyond typical, silo management styles. Click here.

The arrangement, which also includes contributions from the American Organization of Nurse Executives, has already produced a report, “A Model for Clinical Partnering: How Nurse and Physician Executives Use Synergy as Strategy,” an introductory blueprint of approaches for collaborative leadership between physician and nurse administrators in complex systems.

The organizations began dyad research in 2017, when they brought together paired chief medical officers and chief nursing officers for eight collaborations that led to roundtables, interviews, presentations, panels, articles and podcasts. The product of their efforts will be released in early 2019, in the form of an assessment and readiness check that will include a toolkit and resources for dyad success.

“ ‘Partnership’ is a simple word, but is often difficult in practice,” says Jay Bhatt, DO, MPH, MPA, the AHA’s senior vice president and CMO, who also is president of Health Research & Educational Trust. “After digging into these successful CMO-CNO dyad models, we found one thing all had in common: a shared vision and clear goals to help staff teams see the partnership in words and actions. This work with AAPL and AONE has prompted us to go further, creating assessment tools so organizations can see where they fall on the spectrum of dyad leadership and how to ensure it is a success.”

Building on this initial success, the organizations also are exploring collaborative opportunities for dyad models between physician and nonphysician leaders, and triad models that facilitate success among physician, nurse and nonclinical administrative leaders. The goal is to bring to the industry examples of successfully implemented of multidimensional leadership. Three podcasts on this subject will be released soon.

In support of the AHA drive to “lead well, care well, be well,” AAPL and the AHA also are developing initiatives that target population health and clinical workforce wellness. Details on these programs will emerge in coming weeks.  

“Bringing together collaborative leadership of these organizations in a strategic alliance is a major benefit to the health care industry,” says Peter Angood, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, MCCM, president and CEO of AAPL. “Our work together promises to address significant areas of concern that need focused attention — attention that is best addressed by working together and bringing combined resources toward these areas so that change can best occur.”


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