What Do Employed Physicians Have to Do to Get Ahead?

Leigh Page


November 18, 2015

In This Article

Burgeoning Opportunities

Administrative opportunities for physicians are opening up—especially in hospitals, which need more physician-leaders to liaise with all the doctors they've been hiring, and to deal with new payment policies that require a close familiarity with clinical care.

"The Affordable Care Act has increased demand for healthcare delivery models that require a deep understanding of clinical care, and they often depend on physician-leaders for help with implementation," Dr Angood says.

Witt/Kieffer's 2010 survey of healthcare CEOs revealed positions that were virtually nonexistent in its 2000 survey, such as chief quality officer, chief executive of employed physician groups, chief medical informatics officer, chief clinical integration officer, and chief operations officer.

Komnick says recruiters are straining to fill the demand. "Many qualified physician-administrators are looking at three or four opportunities at the same time," she says, adding: "Organizations are accepting lower levels of qualification than they used to." More than one third of CEOs in the Witt/Kieffer survey said their most senior physician executive had less than 2 years' experience on the senior management team.

In addition, more organizations are looking for physician-CEOs, according to Dr Angood. Most of the hospitals on the US News & World Report honor roll, he says, are physician-led. "Hospitals are looking for physician-leaders because they have a double-edged benefit: They have administrative skills, and they understand how the organization can provide better patient care," he says.

Faced with a growing need for physician-leaders, many health systems provide leadership and management training on site, Dr Angood says. Some of them contract with his group to provide this training. He adds that around one half of healthcare organizations pay for in-house training or outside degree programs for certain physicians.


Getting ahead in a healthcare organization can involve limited steps, such as joining committees or taking on a specific project. Or it can involve full-time work in a growing number of positions in the organization. In any case, it will require interpersonal and leadership skills that you may have to develop. For the right kind of person, this work can be very rewarding.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.