This piece summarizes key concepts expressed in an article called “Does Your Doctor Need an MBA?” originally published by Stanford Business.
Everybody knows that health care in the United States is a business. Health care spending accounts for 17% of the country’s GDP. According to Christopher Krubert, a physician and MBA, we could reduce the amount of GDP spent on health care by 20% if we were able to eliminate the inefficiencies in the health care system.
In order to do this, doctors need to rely on business administration skills in addition to their medical expertise (as modern health care now involves over 20% of doctors’ time being spent on the business side of things). For this reason, it is increasingly common to find dual MD/MBA degrees at medical schools across the United States.
The key business administration skills needed by doctors are:
When a person gets sick, they need a doctor. But more than that, they need to feel like they can trust their doctor. Leadership skills help doctors interact with patients and families, as well as their own medical team. Doctors need to be able to provide direction, vision, and reasoning along every step of the process.
Gone are the days of one patient with one doctor. In modern medicine, a doctor may need to consult practitioners and specialists across multiple units, facilities, cities, and even countries. As doctors juggle dozens of patients per day, the numbers add up. Thus, doctors must be able to delegate tasks, take advice from their coworkers, collaborate on treatment plan development, and more.
Hand-in-hand with teamwork, there needs to be a way to coordinate all parties involved with a patient’s care. As noted above, this includes doctors, outside specialists, administrators, billing companies, financial advisors, etc.
Electronic records are at the core of a patient’s medical history and treatment plan. The correct analysis of years worth of data could mean the difference between a successful treatment and a failed one. In some cases, between life and death. As illnesses grow more and more complex, doctors who identify the most effective way of treating patients are those that are optimizing care.
Doctors are measured on costs, and they’ll see themselves most successful when they keep costs low. Identifying the most cost-efficient ways of treating patients is not only beneficial to the patients themselves (who may see their health care spending decrease), but it is also beneficial to clinics, hospitals, health care organizations, and the government.
Bettering the health care system in the United States is a complicated task, involving many intersecting and ever-changing factors. Improving doctors’ skills in business administration is simply one part of the equation.
For a more in-depth explanation of this topic, consult the original article by Stanford Business.
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