Wouter Keijser1,2; Max Poorthuis1; Judith Tweedie3; Peter Lees4; Graham Dickson5; Celeste Wilderom1
1 University of Twente; 2 DIRMI Foundation; 3 Royal College of Physicians; 4 FMLM; 5 Royal Roads University
Increasing economic and organizational challenges call physicians in action to engage in medical leadership (ML) roles. Yet, in only six of the 195 countries the content of ML development has recently been articulated in the form of comprehensive national schemes or programs. Despite increasing scientific evidence pointing to the great relevance of ML and the often-reported hesitance of physicians to engage in ML, little is known about effective strategies and tactics for national ML development. This empirical paper reports on such developments in cultivating a national ML corps. A theorizing inventory of scientific literature on healthcare transformation was combined with an exploratory field study, scrutinizing six “trail blazing” countries: also through archival data analysis and semi-structured interviews. We identified fourteen factors that affect ML national schemes as well as eleven related “interventions”. We propose a developmental phasing model with four phases in national ML development. The results provide insights to nations embarking on their journeys of ML development, thereby enabling medical leaders through teachable/trainable programs. These insights aim to spur more physicians to use new ways to optimize the quality of care, not just for the patients they serve, but also for the health system in which they act.
Keywords: leadership development, medical leadership, qualitative research, professionalism, healthcare transformation, Normalization Process Theory