Developing Effective Physician Leaders: An Imperative for Health System Change

Members of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) understand the unique role of physician leaders in a rapidly evolving delivery system, and are working hard to both identify them and support their professional development. This paper examines how select ACHP plans are helping physicians gain the competencies they need to effectively lead change within and beyond their organizations.

A look at their leadership development approaches reveals these critical elements:

1. Physicians must own the challenge of leading systemic change.
2. Primary care and specialty care physicians must collaborate to bring about change.
3. Organizations and their senior leaders must be strongly and visibly committed to developing physician leaders.
4. Physician leaders must share accountability for outcomes with their administrative counterparts.

The ACHP plans featured in this report are Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Independent Health, HealthPartners and Kaiser Permanente.