Interim leadership is one way to avoid the negative impact of vacancies in critical positions. The benefits of interim healthcare leadership depend heavily on the goals that healthcare systems state and the projects that interims undertake. However, some generalizations can be made as to the benefits that interim management can bring, even in a difficult economy.

Tackle Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Projects

Hiring an interim clinical director or executive can be the perfect opportunity to tackle quality improvement and patient safety projects. By selecting an interim with specific skills, you ensure that you have the right leadership to accomplish your hospital’s goals. Often, interims are charged with overhauling struggling departments, and looking at supply chain, inventory, staffing, etc.


For example, an interim Director of Case Management can significantly decrease length of stay (and associated costs) by using a fresh perspective to examine staff coverage and case loads. An interim Director of Pharmacy can save money by restructuring a formulary to include therapeutically equivalent, but less expensive drugs.

Likewise, a skilled interim OR Director can turn around an inefficient OR, increasing block utilization, decreasing overtime, and boosting profitability.

Because interim clinical directors and executives are skilled not only in running departments, but also in managing change, they are the ideal agents to help your hospital make small changes that can lead to big cost savings.

Improve Employee Morale

Often, interim healthcare executives and clinical directors are hired by organizations that are already experiencing some kind of turmoil. At a departmental level, strong leadership can help to smooth personality conflicts, act as a go-between for groups with opposing interests, and reinvigorate departments suffering from absent or mediocre leadership. For example, medical staff relations can be a particular concern, especially in the OR, where skilled doctors and nurses have to work together in high-pressure situations.

An experienced interim OR Director can serve as a liaison between doctors and nurses, improving physician/nurse relations and helping both groups work toward improving safety and efficiency.

Interim leaders can also boost morale by providing stability in a time of transition or helping their teams achieve success in key initiatives.

Make the Best Choice for a Permanent Hire

Hiring the right person to fill a clinical director or executive position can be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Often, the process of vetting and interviewing candidates can drag on for several months. As a hospital administrator, you don’t want to rush such an important decision, but leaving a key department “un-manned” during this extended period can lead to operational and morale issues that, in the end, can cost your hospital money.

Using an interim leader to fill key clinical and executive positions while you start the search for a permanent replacement ensures that key departments continue running smoothly and allows you to take the time needed to make the right choice for your health system.

In all, using interim healthcare executives and clinical directors to fill vacancies and tackle key projects makes sense. The benefits and cost savings that skilled interims can bring to a hospital often outweigh the expense of hiring them.


For more information about hiring interim healthcare executives and clinical directors, contact Rose Jones at 800-241-0142 or by email,

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