Doctors Enrolling In Business Courses

Compiled By CityTownInfo.com Staff
December 17, 2009

More doctors are seeking business training in an effort to cope with the mountain of paperwork and management which increasingly go hand-in-hand with healthcare.

The Wall Street Journal reports that numerous schools are creating management programs aimed at the medical community. At Harvard Business School, doctors can enroll in Managing Health Care Delivery, a nine-month non-degree program launched in October which currently has 68 students. Similarly, Duke University plans to launch an executive education program with its Fuqua School of Business designed for doctors, where participants will explore topics such as capital budgets and service operations.

Christopher Barton, one of the students in the Harvard course, enrolled to help him better perform his job as chief of emergency medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. The program has already helped him implement changes at his workplace and helped him better delegate leadership and improve patient flow, reports the Journal.

"Leaders in medicine and healthcare have not taken the management side as seriously as they should," he told the Journal.

Other schools are creating dual degree programs which combine medical school with MBAs. This week, Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business and the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine launched a program allowing students to earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine along with an MBA. The program allows students to complete MBA requirements between their third and fourth years of medical school.

"After medical school, many osteopathic physicians go directly into private practice for which a certain amount of business education is needed," explained Richard E. Sorensen, dean of Pamplin, who was quoted in a press release. "A business education is particularly valuable for physicians seeking positions as hospital or other healthcare administrators or those seeking to manage their own practice."

Richard Bohmer, professor at Harvard Business School and author of "Designing Care: Aligning the Nature and Management of Health Care," agreed. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he pointed out that business training is essential for managing today's healthcare demands.

"In the middle of the 20th century the predominant model was a solo practitioner," he told the Journal. "A general management [knowledge] is needed as practice size increases and also as doctors' engagement with hospitals increases."

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