As I listen to the landmark Supreme Court decision on healthcare, I can’t help but think about the ramifications of healthcare reform and its impact on medical professionals. Personally, I’m elated because I know that my kids will be covered until age 26 and that my husband and I won’t lose our healthcare coverage due to pre-existing conditions. But the complications of reform also offer an opportunity for healthcare professionals to understand and manage the business of healthcare – one of the few areas in this economy that has displayed steady growth.
When I was a newly minted admissions officer, I met an ER physician who wanted to gain admission into the Ross MBA program. At the time, I thought the request was odd, but I admitted him into our program. Throughout his MBA, he was able to apply what he learned and turned around one of the busiest and slowest ERs into one of most efficient and lucrative ERs. When I moved to Cornell, I thought of Dr. T. as I helped Cornell launch its MD/MBA program.
As hospitals and medical groups promote clinicians and researchers into administrative positions, these medical professionals need to understand finance, strategy, marketing, and operations. They need to know how to hire, train, and develop their staff. They need to know when to invest in R&D and when to invest in capital (human and otherwise). And they most certainly need to know how to manage their budgets.
Medical schools, dental schools and nursing schools do not offer these important skills in their curriculum. To meet these needs, many public health programs and business schools have developed MHSA (Masters of Health Services Administration) and EMBA (Executive Masters in Business Administration) programs built specifically for mid-career medical professionals who are moving into administrative roles. Programs such as Harvard’s MS in HCM (Healthcare Management), Cornell’s AMBA (Accelerated MBA), Dartmouth’s MHCDS (Master of Health Care Delivery Science), University of Texas’ HMEMBA (Health Management Executive MBA), and University of Tennessee’s PEMBA (Physician’s Executive MBA) are designed specifically for the mid-career physician or dentist. However, most EMBA programs will accommodate a medical practitioner’s busy schedule as noted in this neurosurgeon’s story about his Duke EMBA experience on the Poets and Quants website.
As a result of this type of business training, we have seen medical organizations that provide top-notch medicine and healthy bottom lines. From the Ritz Carlton-influenced Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield, Michigan to the extremely personalized services at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the business of medicine is changing.
By Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.