Healthcare Blog of Dr. Remo Aguilar

Reviving the physician’s administrative function

in Education/Medicine/Opportunities/Orthopedics by

Right. I almost forgot. The medical staff do have “dual” functions.

The medical staff has a dual and overlapping management system- the administrative which involves the activities of a medico-administrative character, and professional, which concerns of the clinical aspects of its functions.

The physician is typically absorbed with the clinical aspects of his profession and rarely bother with administrative functions unless he or she is managing a large group practice or a hospital. Private, solo practice large reduces the physician’s administrative function to bare minimum.

This may not be necessarily true in a practice that involves a tertiary institution.

This realization struck me as I was tasked an administrative position of setting up clinical services for a tertiary level health care facility. While defining clinical functions is not a “breeze”, setting up additional administrative functions for the involved physician is like “walking into a storm”. Again, this is seemingly related to physician’s preference to clinical functions rather than the administrative part. In reality, most physicians shy away from ANY administrative functions at all.  I now understood why physician administrators grow (or lose) gray hairs by the hundreds each day.

physician as administrator
physician as an administrator, what gives?

The reason?  My personal observation is this: As a physician, we were trained mainly on the clinical aspects of our profession. The few that got some training on the administrative skills probably got stuck in such functions. This compartmentalization of functions seem to enhance productivity on either of such functions but not on both. We were trained to specialize. Even solo, private practice seem to support this observation. The other reason is that physicians are generally slow to adapt to any change. Our comfort zone is just to comfortable to let go suddenly.  Thus, physicians tiptoes and are slow to adapt to administrative changes intended to improved  health care delivery.

This is where I am looking for ways to get viral and enthusiastic response from the medical staff. This dual function of hospital based physicians are intertwined and complementary. Defining such functions is necessary for providing top notch health care service and the smooth operations of the health care institution. I’m not just saying this because I’m now part of a hospital administration. As I’ve said before,  have I recognized administrative functions before in a solo practice, my practice would have been smoother and productive.

In your practice, do you really care about administrative functions at all?

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (

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