The Evolving Role of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leadership

As hospices and palliative care services evolve into advanced palliative care organizations with greater scope and influence over late-life care within their communities, a “new” physician executive role is emerging along the career path for HPM physicians. This role is broader than the traditional senior medical director or chief medical officer positions, and is progressing toward what we refer to as the “chief community palliative care officer”.

These physician executive positions have proven to be instrumental in shaping late-life care practices by applying management competencies to:

-build and sustain relationships that evolve into community-wide palliative care networks

-disseminate throughout a community the use of metrics and evidence-based practices to hold practitioners to high standards of performance

-inspire referring physicians and HPM medical staff members to meet clinical outcomes and family satisfaction metrics

-envision and stimulate a change process that coalesces the community around new models of late-life care

Daunting challenges, to be sure. As hospice executives and HPM physicians come to grips with impending rules around face-to-face recertification requirements, and other day-to-day operational issues, we would all do well to remain mindful of the strategic leadership objectives that will ultimately determine how successful we are in transforming late-life care in the US. We’ve seen the importance of the role of HPM leadership in exemplar communities across America. To “spread the science ” of HPM is our next challenge.

2 thoughts on “The Evolving Role of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leadership

  1. Thanks for writing about this.
    This further highights the need for more education and training in leadership, quality, management for palliative care physicians. We often consider different roles in professional development as physicians: research-track, clinical-track, education-track. For people interested in leadership, how do we as a field develop a management/administrator track? Should we?
    There are some good groups out there to help with filling in the holes when it comes to gaining business knowledge – my favorite is ACPE (American Academy of Physician Executives) which supports education towards either MBA or MMM (Masters in Medical Management).
    Thanks again!

  2. I completely agree that there is a growing need for physician leaders who understand the increasingly complex challenges we currently face. Fostering leadership and mentoring new leaders within HPM remains one of the Academy’s strategic goals. There are numerous opportunities within the Academy’s governance structure for interested volunteers to become involved and gain general experience that will aid them along this path. How to assist with more specific experience along a given track is also something the Academy is exploring. Expect to see more on this over the course of the next year.

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