As the delivery of healthcare services increasingly emphasizes interprofessional activity, one major occupation, healthcare administration, is conspicuously absent from the discussion. This situation reflects the structure of healthcare delivery organizations as professional bureaucracies, with clinical professionals practicing with relative autonomy and with administrators viewed as quasi- or semi-professionals. Not only is this a missed opportunity for administrators, but it seriously weakens the potential for change and improvement promised by interprofessional practice. In this article, we argue that healthcare administrators are important to the success of interprofessional care because they often are in a strong position to champion and implement the system-wide cultural and structural conditions for successful interprofessional care. We also note that changes are needed in the role expectations and education of healthcare administrators to increase the familiarity and comfort of administrators with clinical care and to help them more effectively influence the organizational conditions for collaborative interprofessional exchange. Changes in the expectations and education of clinical professionals also will help accomplish the goal of greater "complementarity" between administrators and clinical healthcare professionals. Such changes are consistent with larger societal forces that are increasing professionalism among administrators and creating more accountability from both administrators and clinical professionals for the quality, cost, and collaboration of services.
- Health administration
- health services administration
- healthcare management
- interprofessional care teams