Competencies for population-based clinical managers

A survey of managed care medical directors


      Background: The evolution of American health care into integrated systems of delivery and finance requires a specialized set of population-based skills for physicians. The field of preventive medicine represents one source of this expertise. Specific competencies for the emerging area of managerial medicine have not been well delineated.
      Methods: Using concept documents from the Residency Review Committee for Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Preventive Medicine, a list of proposed competencies for managerial medicine was identified. Surveys were mailed to medical directors of all members of the American Association of Health Plans and to a random sample of diplomates of the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of these competencies for a population-oriented clinician manager.
      Results: Areas rated highly by medical directors included health services research (including outcomes research), quality assurance and improvement, health risk assessment and reduction, programmatic skills, and clinical preventive skills. Responses from preventive medicine specialists were similar, but placed lower emphasis on these skills.
      Conclusion: Despite its limited response rate, this survey may be useful in the implementation of specialty training in managerial medicine. Residency training programs may choose to emphasize specific content areas that reflect the priorities expressed by physicians actively involved in management.


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