HMI Council Member to work on developing international leadership competencies for healthcare executives

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Caroline O’Regan
Ms. Caroline O’Regan

HMI Council Member and Hon. Editor of Health Manager, Caroline O’Regan, has been nominated to the International Hospital Federation (IHF) to work on developing a new leadership competency model for healthcare executives.

She will be part of a group of 50 experts, representing close to 30 countries. With this broad global representation, they are hoping to gather a diversity of perspectives and reach an internationally validated competency model.

HMI was invited to nominate a Council member to input the new IHF project, which is led by the (IHF) and its new Geneva Sustainability Centre.

The IHF, which connects healthcare leaders, in over 130 organisations in 50 countries around the world, supports them to excel through training and development. It creates forums for international, peer to peer knowledge exchange, showcases good practices and works in partnership with international organisations on key issues for its members.

Caroline O’Regan, who holds an MEd., is an Executive Development Specialist with the RCSI Graduate School of Healthcare Management. 

She said that between 2013 and 2015, the Global Consortium for Healthcare Management Professionalization, led by the International Hospital Federation (IHF), developed the IHF Competency Directory. This is now being revisited and it was hoped that Phase 2 of the project would be completed by summer of this year.

The directory has been categorised into 5 theme domains 27 sub-domains and 80 competencies derived from Healthcare Leadership Alliance (HLA) Competency Directory. They provide a baseline for healthcare managers, at any stage of their career, can be used as a roadmap to strengthen the training and professionalization of healthcare managers and remain flexible and can be adapted to local settings.

The Geneva Sustainability Centre was launched by the IHF in September 2022, to face the current climate crisis from within the healthcare sector. The Centre’s global reach and impact will build awareness and promote action among healthcare leaders and provide capacity building to anchor leadership for sustainability into the healthcare sector for the long-term. These activities will include competency-based approaches.

Its vision is to support hospitals to become leaders for sustainability in their communities, its mission to equip hospital leaders with the information, tools, and skills to deliver a net positive impact for a healthy and resilient future in healthcare.

Seven years following the publication of the Competency Directory (2015), the IHF now aims to provide a Competency Model for healthcare executives, based on the existing Directory, updated to reflect those changes, and which is an efficient, simple and useful tool for the hospital leaders of today and tomorrow.

Current transformations impacting the hospital executives’ role include:

  • Increased preparedness and crisis management to face hazardous events and business continuity.
  • To place the hospitals in communities as “anchor institutions” and the environmental responsibility of the healthcare sector.

Caroline said the new Model would not replace the competency Directory, and both could be used alongside each other. One of the key differences would be that the Model would have several dimensions: it was divided in “enabling” domains and “action” domains, and the domains complemented each other.