A systematic review of 45 studies of leadership development programs for physicians has been published in the May issue of Journal of General Internal Medicine. Professor Jan Frich at University of Oslo and colleagues at Yale School of Public Health found that such programs are associated with increased self-assessed knowledge and expertise; however, few studies have examined outcomes at an organizational level.
Only six studies documented favourable organizational outcomes, such as improvement in quality indicators for disease management. The most common topics included in the curricula were leadership, teamwork, financial management, self-management, conflict management, quality improvement, communication, and health policy/strategy.
Physician leadership development programs typically aim to strengthen physicians’ leadership competencies and improve organizational performance. Our synthesis of the literature suggests important gaps, including a lack of reports on programs that integrate non-physician and physician professionals, limited use of interactive learning and feedback to develop greater self-awareness, and an overly narrow focus on individual-level rather than system-level outcomes.