Program for Chairs of Clinical Services
Chairs of clinical departments traditionally have faced complex responsibilities because of their multiple tasks – patient care, teaching, research, and administration.
As a result of the effects of health reform, financial pressures, and resource constraints, many chiefs are being asked by their institutions to become more extensively involved in institutional decision-making with regard to programs, staffing, operating and capital budgets, and other issues, such as the restructuring of the clinical enterprise. These responsibilities are in addition to their traditional concerns within their own departments. At the same time, chiefs have to consider to a greater degree the relationship between institutional priorities, departmental decisions, and collaboration with other services. These new tasks call for new leadership and managerial skills.
The Program for Chairs of Clinical Services brings together chiefs of major clinical departments in teaching hospitals and health systems and an experienced interdisciplinary faculty for two weeks of intensive and systematic study of some of the critical leadership and management issues facing chiefs, their departments, and teaching hospitals.
The curriculum of the Program is organized around the following interrelated courses taught by a faculty experienced in executive education for physicians and other key decision-makers in the health system:
- Institutional Strategy
- Health Economics
- Financial Analysis and Control
- Management of Operations
- Organizational Issues
- Legal Issues
A carefully integrated curriculum permits participants to examine fundamental managerial issues from the perspective of several disciplines. A new program initiative or downsizing proposal, for example, may raise managerial problems concerning departmental and institutional strategy; the application and utility of systems analysis and quantitative analytical methods; basic economic trends and legal constraints; financial analysis and control; and organizational behavior, design, and development.
The overriding purpose for learning concepts, techniques, and skills in any of the management disciplines in this Program is to understand their managerial use and limitations. For example, the course in financial analysis and control does not aim to develop expert accountants or to provide accounting skills, per se. The purpose in learning to analyze the cost and financial implications of program decisions, for instance, is: (a) to better understand the fundamental methodological issues involved, the driving factors behind any particular analysis, the limits of such analysis, and the need to blend this with clinical, strategic, and other non-financial judgements; and (b) to improve the ability of a participant both to manage staff and to interact more effectively with the fiscal affairs personnel in their hospital, health system, or medical school.
The principal method of instruction in the Program is the case method, a technique pioneered and refined at Harvard Business School. Most of the cases present actual problem situations familiar to chairs of clinical departments. Special case materials based on field studies of specific issues faced by service chiefs have been and continue to be prepared by the faculty.
The case method confronts the participant with an actual management problem, halted at a point where decisions must be made, and forces the participant to choose a course of action. Participants go through a three-step study process. First, participants study each case independently. Participants then meet in small discussion groups to test their individual analyses against those of their peers. Finally, the entire class discusses the case, with the professor as catalyst and guide. The professor points out considerations the class has overlooked; elicits from participants the lessons of experience; pursues each line of investigation to its conclusion; and finally, summarizes the discussion and draws out the major lessons it has taught.
Assigned readings and guest lecturers supplement and augment the use of cases. In addition, an important part of the learning process occurs during the informal exchange of insights and experience among participants and faculty.
Classes and discussion groups are scheduled six days a week. Preparation for classes averages six hours a day. Registration is scheduled for 3:00 – 4:00 pm on the opening Sunday of the program. The following Sunday is free except for cases to be prepared for Monday’s classes. The Program concludes on the second Friday at 2:00 pm. Participants are required to free themselves of professional and family responsibilities for the period of the Program so that full attention can be devoted to the educational experience.
The Program’s overall objective is to enhance and develop participants’ leadership abilities and effectiveness. This is accomplished by providing broader understanding of their responsibilities as leaders; perspective on some of the critical leadership and management issues they face; and understanding and awareness of concepts and techniques relevant to management.
Upon Completion of the Program, Participants Will Have Gained:
- Increased understanding of their responsibilities and tasks as leaders of clinical departments and members of the leadership group of their institution
- A broader appreciation of and insight into the external challenges facing, and changes occurring in, academic medical centers; the range of options and responses available; and the implications for their own institution, clinical service, and academic program
- New perspectives on issues they face currently and on those which arise in the future
- Knowledge of relevant concepts and techniques in several key management disciplines
- New methods to analyze problems and an enhanced capacity to identify the critical questions
- Greater effectiveness as departmental and institutional leaders in formulating and implementing new initiatives and managing change
Who should attend
The Program is designed for chairs of major clinical departments in teaching hospitals whose responsibilities require them to allocate resources, develop policies, and provide leadership. Potential participants include heads of departments of medicine, surgery, obstetrics-gynecology, pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, neurology, anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology. Chairs of other major departments with residency programs are also eligible. Participants will be selected with a view to ensuring an appropriate mix and balance in the class.