Are physicians leaders?
It’s a loaded question, but one that deserves analysis. In my recently published book, MD 2.0 – Physician Leadership in the Information Age, I take a look at the evolution of the role of physicians and how we’ve arrived at the point where the traditional paternalistic physician is no longer feasible.
There are a lot of cultural and sociological reasons for why the leadership role of physicians is changing. The typical physician started as a hyper-focused student, most likely skipping the fraternity party to stay home and study the Krebs Cycle.
As a group, we’re trained not to take risks. We delay professional gratification on the assumption that if we succeed at our task-oriented work, in the end we’ll get the recognition and stature we deserve.
But the world is changing. Healthcare today must be both physician-led and patient-centered. In this paradigm shift, effective leadership must be collaborative rather than authoritarian, proactive rather than reactive.
Making the shift isn’t easy for most physicians. The traditional physician-patient relationship is paternalistic, centered on our knowledge and expertise. We’re the heroes in this scenario. Changing our approach requires a shift in world view.
That’s why the subtitle of my book is “From Hero to Duyukdv.” Duyukdv is a Cherokee word that means truth, dignity, living one’s life the right way, and balancing the rights of the individual with the good of the group.
What I’m suggesting is it’s time to reframe how physicians work with patients (in part by taking advantage of tools enabled by advances in information technology, such as analytics). We need to reboot as MD 2.0 by adopting a more integrated, collaborative approach to our profession. It’s time to shed the training that made us such effective reactive managers and transform into proactive leaders.
What do you think about the role of physicians as leaders? Is it time to rethink how physicians approach how they interact with patients and other health care professionals?
Views expressed by Guest Bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of “It Takes a Community” or Allscripts.