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Articulating the Work Experiences of Chief Medical Officers: A Qualitative Study
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The contention between physicians and administrators in U.S. hospital systems has never been as divergent as it is today. The reasons for this conflict are found in historical and contemporary literature stemming from differences in group beliefs, variability of professional goals, and changes in recent healthcare policies and directives in this country. For the U.S. healthcare system to flourish amid these noted challenges, hospital system leaders must focus on the physician and administrator group differences and conflicts toward more group interdependence and balance. In my dissertation, the chief medical officer (CMO) is introduced and empirically studied as the linchpin of group cohesion and as someone who is vitally important to 21st-century healthcare and hospital systems. Current literature regarding CMO practice provides limited insight on the position. Therefore, I engaged a qualitative methodology and design to better understand CMOs in a particular healthcare system. The case study design helped capture the findings that suggest that current literature falls short of discussing and fostering the processes by which CMOs perform their job. Thus, I engaged a new process-centric view in order to better understand CMO practice. Through interviewing a select group of CMOs, my findings revealed that this unique group of physician leaders faced practical challenges regarding definition of their role, building and maintaining credibility with their physician colleagues, and development of the position. By bringing these issues to the forefront empirically, I discovered the challenging reality of my participants through their experiences as translators, advocates, aligners, and protectors of their patients, colleagues, hospitals, and, ultimately, the healthcare system. Overall, the experiences of my participants fostered the creation of implications for research, practice, and future studies regarding performance of the CMO position in support of U.S. healthcare system goals.
Hlavin, Joseph Anthony (2017). Articulating the Work Experiences of Chief Medical Officers: A Qualitative Study. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from