Examining Medical Manager Roles Across European Health Systems

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Medical professionals in discussion

Research overview

Leeds have led a four-year EU COST Action (Nov 2009 - Nov 2013) examining the development of medical manager roles (doctors in management) across European health systems.

EU COST (short for Cooperation in Science and Technology) funds collaboration amongst European researchers. Action IS0903 (full title “Enhancing the role of doctors in the management of European health systems – implications for control, innovation and user voice") was rooted in a number of recent trends in healthcare. These include:

  • the growing involvement of doctors in management
  • changes in medical education, training and career structures
  • changing governance arrangements
  • new pressures for innovating to improve quality and efficiency
  • new accountabilities and new partnerships with service users.

Such changes are assumed to be positive, they are viewed at policy level as leading to improvements in organisation learning and control, innovation and user voice – within many countries, despite limited cross national evidence.

Research approach

In examining some of these assumptions the Action adopted a distinctly European and comparative perspective, involving researchers from a number of disciplines and across 21 European countries during the four-year period.

Work has focused on the development of medical manager roles within the hospital sector and the implications doctors in management have for governance, the ways in which doctors involve patients in decision making (Cancer and IVF) and the differences between innovation that is clinically led versus innovation that is managerially led.

Research team

Professor Ian Kirkpatrick
Centre for Innovation in Health Management (CIHM)

Research outputs

Whilst research is continuing in this area here at Leeds, and across the network, outputs from the Action to date include:

  • Three Special Issues commissioned: One on innovation in International Journal of Healthcare Management (2012); one on medical hybrids, agreed with International Journal of Public Sector Management (due 2014) and one on user voice within health systems, agreed with Journal of Health Organisation and Management (planned 2016).
  • A number of individual articles published in journals including British Journal of Management, Social Science and Medicine, BMC Health Online, International Journal of Clinical Practice.
  • The development of frameworks for comparison across countries.
  • A toolkit of top 10 reads on innovation in health for managers.

For more information on the Action and ongoing work in this area please contact Beth Cole at the CIHM