Hospitals Healthier When Run by Doctors, Which Rarely Occurs

Monday, July 11, 2011
It doesn’t take a bean-counter to run a hospital. In fact, the better run a hospital is—from a patient standpoint—the more likely a doctor is in charge.
A study out of Germany, but focused on 300 top-ranked American medical facilities, says doctor-led hospitals are 25% more likely to provide quality care than facilities run by administrators. The rating is even higher (33%) for cancer treatment at hospitals where physicians are in charge. However, as of 2009, only 235 of the 6,500 hospitals in the United States were led by physicians.
Study author Amanda Goodall says she can’t pinpoint why doctor-run hospitals post better results, but it may have something to do with physicians knowing “the core business of health.”
Doctors “are more likely to better understand the conditions under which their fellow core workers—doctors and nurses—will function best,” Goodall told the New York Times. “If a leader creates optimal working conditions for the core workers, then that is likely to create a more efficient organization.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Should Hospitals Be Run by Doctors? (by Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times)
Physician-Leaders and Hospital Performance: Is There an Association? (by Amanda H. Goodall, Institute for the Study of Labor) (pdf)
Perspective: Educating Physicians to Lead Hospitals (by Richard Gunderman and Steven Kanter, Academic Medicine)


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