Physician Leadership: Why it Matters?

December 6, 2013

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Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” I wouldn’t have known what he meant right out of residency, thrust into my first “leadership” role. What does it mean after all to be a leader in medicine? Many, like me, were considered a team leader by default, simply because of a degree. But as many have also learned, it takes skills and maturity to become a person others respect, listen to, want to follow – skills not necessarily taught in medical training. So then how can a doctor truly become a leader – and what does it really mean? Getting back to the quote – A leader can identify a problem and innovate to find a solution.

This may sound over-simplified, but the leap that it takes to go from naming a problem to doing something about it is a huge one. To take action and motivate others to do the same is really spectacular. But to build momentum and inspire impactful change in any industry takes something special, and this is where it gets exciting. Never has there been a bigger need for leadership in medicine. Never before has there been this much change or opportunity – and never before has it been more important for physicians to lead this change.

To continue in the spirit of Steve Jobs, “A leader leads by example whether he intends to or not.” Physicians are naturally in a position to influence others and be respected for their knowledge. Healthcare has become a marketplace, and those with a little business knowledge are often given positions to trump those with a lot of medical knowledge. This does not have to be the way of the future. Physicians and those who care for patients understand better than those in business how to save money in healthcare and how to innovate for better outcomes for their patients – they just need to be supported in these endeavors – and physician leaders support each other.

The idea for DocbookMD sprung out of a desire for better. We identified an issue that stimulated a desire for change, which in turn led to a passion, which developed into a technology that tens of thousands of doctors use today to help many more thousands of patients. Today we fight to keep physicians at the center of healthcare technology. We have a taste for this enigma that is business, and realize it is not another degree or something so removed from the practice of good medicine, as some would have you believe. It is applying common sense to areas where you have passion.

Many specialty and state medical associations offer leadership training – it’s yours for the taking.

“Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday” – the late, great Steve Jobs

Posted December 6, 2013 by Tracey Haas, DO, MPH, Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of DocbookMD

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