Physician leadership in e-health? A systematic literature review


Purpose – This paper aims to systematically review the literature on roles of physicians in virtual teams (VTs) delivering healthcare for effective “physician e-leadership” (PeL) and implementation of e-health.

Design/methodology/approach – The analyzed studies were retrieved with explicit keywords and criteria, including snowball sampling. They were synthesized with existing theoretical models on VT research, healthcare team competencies and medical leadership.

Findings – Six domains for further PeL inquiry are delineated: resources, task processes, socio-emotional processes, leadership in VTs, virtual physician-patient relationship and change management.Weshow that, to date, PeL studies on socio-technical dynamics and their consequences on

e-health are found underrepresented in the health literature; i.e. no single empirical, theoretic or conceptual study with a focus on PeL in virtual healthcare work was identified.

Research limitations/implications – E-health practices could benefit from organization behavioral type of research for discerning effective physicians’ roles and inter-professional relations and their (so far) seemingly modest but potent impact on e-health developments.

Practical implications – Although best practices in e-health care have already been identified, this paper shows that physicians’ roles in e-health initiatives have not yet received any in-depth study. This raises questions such as are physicians not yet sufficiently involved in e-health? If so, what (dis)advantages may this have for current e-health investments and how can they best become involved in (leading) e-health applications’ design and implementation in the field?

Originality/value – If effective medical leadership is being deployed, e-health effectiveness may be enhanced; this new proposition needs urgent empirical scrutiny.

Keywords – E-health, Interdisciplinary collaboration, Implementation, Medical leadership, Human factor, Virtual teamwork.

Physician leadership in e-health? A systematic literature review. Wouter KeijserJacco SmitsLisanne PentermanCeleste Wilderom, (2016)  Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 29 Issue: 3, pp.331-347,