Opinion: Clinician-administrator relationships are ‘on life support.’ Here’s how to heal them

Programs that elevate the importance of clinician-administrator relationships in health care can ease human suffering in the workforce, address staffing shortages, and lead to better health and well-being for all.

Much has been written about the decades-long erosion of the once-solid relationship between patients and their doctors. The implosion of another important health care dyad — clinicians and C-suite administrators — has received much less attention, despite the fact that those relationships are on life support.

Overshadowed by all the talk about health care provider well-being, burnout, and resilience, there are almost no conversations about professional satisfaction or burnout among health system and hospital administrators, or about their essential relationships with clinicians. Having done an often-thankless job before Covid-19 emerged, leaders had to find ways to shepherd their organizations through a global pandemic and all of the workflow, policy, and financial changes that came with inventing entirely new ways of working and caring for patients.

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