6 Signs to Look for in an ASC Physician Leader

Brad Lerner, MD, medical director at Summit ASC in Baltimore, recently spoke physician leadership at Becker's 18th Annual ASC Conference in Chicago.

Historically, physicians were granted leadership status based on their knowledge and expertise, such as technical skills, cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence. Now, however, leadership ability is based on a slightly different set of criteria.

Dr. Lerner recommends ASCs evaluate physicians for leadership opportunities on the following criteria:

Integrity and credibility. Do physicians have a deep understanding of the ASC business? Are they consistent, willing to admit mistakes, decisive and good listeners?

Rapport with non-physician medical staff. The relationship between nurses and physicians is crucial to success. ASC administrators should also meet with nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical assistants, surgical technicians and CRNAs to gauge the physician's relationship with staff.

Rapport with non-medical staff. Historically, many physicians have little interest in this, according to Dr. Lerner. The physician should be able to work with administrators, HR, marketing, personnel, lawyers, finance managers and vendors.  

Understanding of major issues in the ASC setting. These three issues are clinical matters, finances and operational issues. "This sort of flows when you're looking to bring a new service line to an ASC. It has to work clinically, financially and operationally. These are what I go through with leaders whenever we're considering major decisions in an ASC," says Dr. Lerner.

Financial management knowledge. Some financial knowledge is helpful, but physicians don't need CFAs. An understanding of reimbursement, budgeting, asset management, balance sheets and legal issues can help the physician in leadership roles.

Ability to influence. Physicians who can influence the quality of medical care, motivate others, manage conflicts and maximize results across multiple stakeholders will make better leaders. Dr. Lerner made an important distinction, however, when he noted that physicians should strive to be respected rather than popular.

Related Articles on Leadership Development:

10 Traits of Top Healthcare Leaders
150 Physician Leaders in the Ambulatory Surgery Center Industry
How to Create Positive Surgeon-Hospital Relationships

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