Fri, Aug 25th, 2023

Paying it Forward: The Vital Role of Physician Leadership in Quality Improvement

Game Changers

The role of the physician in leading the charge toward improving the quality of healthcare is ever evolving. Always known to be leaders in the clinical settings, physicians are assuming a greater role in developing methodologies, processes and programs designed to improve patient safety and outcomes. Until recently, traditional medical school education did not spend much time focusing on the quality management aspects of patient care, choosing instead to center on evidence-based care delivery and patient outcomes. One unfortunate consequence has led to less beneficial experiences with accrediting agencies and quality management staff. By engaging physicians in the totality of quality management, we obtain better outcomes and attitudes toward patient safety along with dedicated leadership in efficiency, equity, and patient-responsiveness. Physicians are scientists by nature and look to concrete fundamentals when treating patients. Exposing them to the more scientific side of patient safety and promoting leadership in the quality realm could eventually increase the numbers of actively engaged physician leaders in quality. However, it is difficult to measure engagement and willingness in quality, which explains why there is limited literature and research into the topic of physician involvement in this area. Various incentives (financial, professional, etc.) may be deployed in order to spark interest and motivation for physicians to work with teams toward achieving top tier quality outcomes. Developing innovative programs that allow physicians to serve as invested leaders in quality management can be an important strategy in promoting patient safety for this and future generations.