Open to Interpretation: The Search for a Clinical Leader

  |   Thought Leadership

Ask the person beside you -What is the best picture of a horse?


horse1  horse-2


For many of us the biggest management challenge facing our health system is improving quality and increasing transparency. For others it may be reducing waiting times and access. For me it is improving health literacy.


Whatever your priority area, a top answer for enabling the implementation of it will require “clinical leadership”. How can our society, our institutions, organisation or specialty team develop clinical leaders who will:


  • Raise standards;
  • Increase accountability;
  • Reduce variation;
  • Challenge colleagues;
  • Empower patient choice;
  • Act as a corporate citizen.


The practice of clinical medicine with its daily judgments is both science and art. It is impossible to make explicit all aspects of professional competence. Evidence-based decision models may be very powerful, but are like computer-generated symphonies in the style of Mozart—correct but lifeless. In the practice of clinical medicine, the art is not merely part of the “medical humanities” but is integral to medicine as an applied science.


In August 2013, post the Keogh review Jeremy Hunt announced that a major programme of clinical leadership would be developed by the Leadership Academy.


At the time of the announcement we recommended that the Academy invest in teaching clinical leaders how to  inspire confidence and influence their peer group and work on causes and reasons behind their peers decision making and clinical management preferences.


In effect we suggested that the programme look closely at interpretation and empathy.


What is the best picture of the horse?