City Research Online

Building organisations, setting minds: exploring how boards of Dutch medical specialist companies address physicians’ professional performance

Debets, M. P. M., Silkens, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-8279-1341, Kruijthof, K. C. J. & Lombarts, K. M. J. M. H. (2022). Building organisations, setting minds: exploring how boards of Dutch medical specialist companies address physicians’ professional performance. BMC Health Services Research, 22(1), article number 155. doi: 10.1186/s12913-022-07512-6


Governments worldwide are reforming healthcare systems to achieve high quality and safe patient care while maintaining costs. Self-employed physicians reorganise into novel organisations to meet reconfiguration demands, impacting their work environment and practice. This study explores what strategies these novel organisations use to address physicians’ professional performance and what they encounter when executing these strategies to achieve high quality and safe care.

This constructivist exploratory qualitative study used focus groups to answer our research question. Between October 2018 and May 2019, we performed eight focus group sessions with purposively sampled Medical Specialist Companies (MSCs), which are novel physician-led organisations in the Netherlands. In each session, board members of an MSC participated (n = 33).

MSCs used five strategies to address physicians’ professional performance: 1) actively managing and monitoring performance, 2) building a collective mindset, 3) professionalising selection and onboarding, 4) improving occupational well-being, and 5) harmonising working procedures. The MSC’s unique context determined which strategies and quality and safety topics deserved the most attention. Physicians’ support, trusting relationships with hospital administrators, and the MSC’s organisational maturity seem critical to the quality of the strategies’ execution.

The five strategies have clear links to physicians’ professional performance and quality and safety. Insight into whether an MSC’s strategies together reflect medical professional or organisational values seems crucial to engage physicians and collaboratively achieve high quality and safe care.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Publisher Keywords: Physicians, Professional performance, Leadership, Healthcare governance and management, Quality and safety
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of 12913_2022_Article_7512.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login