Do doctors make the best hospital administrators?

A recent paper in the journal Social Science and Medicine found a strong association between having a physician manage a hospital and the hospital’s ranking. Among the specialty hospitals under review in the study, those that are run by physicians rank about 25 per cent higher on the US News and World Report’s Best Hospital List than those run by non-physicians.

The study was undertaken by Dr Amanda Goodall, whose research focus is the role of expertise in effective management. Dr Goodall does not advocate a causal association between physican-led hospitals and their performance. However, she does conclude that “leaders should first be experts in the core business of their organizations”.

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