Physician Leadership Training Needed Now More Than Ever During COVID-19

By May 5, 2020February 17th, 2021Healthcare Transformation, Leadership, Physician

The COVID-19 Pandemic has exposed the vulnerability in our public health, supply chain and healthcare system including the current home health structure, health disparities, fragmentation of delivery system, and unsustainable cost structure (at almost 18% of GDP). The headlines are bursting with stories about how healthcare heroes are working in difficult situations finding themselves without the necessary PPE and ventilators, and some even being fired for speaking up.

This is the time for the Transformation of our health system. Such a transformation is only possible under the leadership provided by the ones who are on the front lines and are the lifeblood of healthcare – physicians and nurses.

The paradox is that clinicians who should be the vanguards of this transformation are busy in the trenches fighting the disease, after being relegated over the years to the sidelines of the key decisions made. The danger is that in the absence of physician leadership, as we saw in many situations during the COVID 19 pandemic, can lead to dire consequences, delays, misinformation and even death. If physicians are not equipped and allowed to lead, the healthcare transformation will fail to materialize or would resemble at best a patchwork of temporary solutions driven by short-term thinking, leaving us thus venerable in the face of the next challenge.

Virtual learning for healthcare professionals

In the Post- COVID Era, Clinicians Will Require Skills To:

  • Lead the unprecedented cross collaboration needed among specialties and departments– no Silos, no egos!
  • Mobilize large scale of resources for large scale admissions, throughput of patients
  • Focus truly on equitable access, telehealth and home health
  • Make fast decisions while engaging many people and not being paralyzed by “analysis paralysis”.
  • Maintain agility and flexibility in order to change processes and decisions quickly
  • Deal with extended high stress environment


Physicians and Nurses Need Immediate Training to Lead Effectively in the Post-COVID:

After COVID-19, many physicians and nurses will need immediate training on the following leadership skills to lead effectively.

  1. Being self-aware and leading with character and unwavering courage. They need to know how to care for themselves before they care for others.
  2. Being anchored in the deep purpose of “Do no harm” and not be distracted by noise and pressure.
  3. Effectively leading the healthcare team with empathy, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. And not avoiding challenging the status quo or conflict with others and how to compromise.
  4. Leading with agility while balancing the clinical and economical strategies
  5. Taking actions and executing flawlessly – hold self and other accountable
  6. Communicating across, up and down with clarity and transparency to engage others effectively.
  7. Balancing the paradox of optimism and the brutal facts of the current reality

physician leadership webinars

Before COVID-19 Leadership Skills Were Needed

Even before we saw the COVID-19 pandemic rock the U.S. healthcare system, leadership skills were needed for the physician leaders. Let’s take a look at some of the data.

  • 55% of providers reported moderate to high level of burnout.
  • Only 10% of physicians were engaged.
  • Health Disparities have existed for many years without effective solutions and now have been exposed during COVID-19.
  • Home health has been fragmented with spotty quality and safety record.
  • Healthcare Safety have not improved enough. The third leading cause of death in the US is preventable events.
  • An increasing number of physicians seek early retirement citing “burnout” while more retrench between private practices and hospitals.
  • Job dissatisfaction is at an all-time high resulting in more than 20% of physicians moving to a different hospital within the third year of their hire.
  • Physicians have been focusing on patient interactions and not assuming the critical leadership roles required in our turbulent age.
  • The focus has been on individual and financial performance (RVU), and not truly on prevention, patient convenience, and affordability.
  • We inadvertently keep pushing doctors away from leadership while the new health age cries out for new skill sets that include courageous leadership, agility, teamwork, collaboration and innovation.


Act Now to Develop Physician Leaders and Transform the Healthcare Industry

Now is the right time to invest in physician leadership to transform healthcare post COVID-19 for the following reasons.

  • Physician leadership is not a position or a title, it is a mindset.
  • Physician leadership is a skill to be acquired and practiced and not learned from text books
  • Where there is strong physician leadership, community and healthcare organizations benefit. They become purveyors of value – exemplars of quality patient care and cost effectiveness.
  • When physicians disengage from their vocations, whether due to cynicism or burnout, healthcare transformation becomes impossible to achieve with terrible consequences.
  • Organizations that effectively develop their physician leaders have demonstrated better engagement, better alignment and better results in health outcomes, patient and employee satisfaction, and business performance.
  • We believe that when medicine meets leadership everything changes: the culture, the care, the way we collaborate, and most importantly, outcomes.


To learn more about how we can help you develop (virtually) your physicians and nurses to lead the POST COVID Healthcare transformation, contact us at: