How the Business of Medicine Improves Healthcare Delivery

Expect the issues of Inc., Fast Company and Harvard Business Review to move from the waiting rooms to the desks and bookshelves of physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

Advanced business skills, once regarded as the purview of corporations and those who work within them, are now essential to the growth and operation of solo and private practices.

“Healthcare delivery is not about anatomy and physiology,” says David Joyce, M.D., MBA, director of educational programs for Essential Seminars for Physicians LLC. “It is not about biochemistry. It does not have the name of a disease or a drug to cure it. Rather, it is full of processes and people. It depends on finance. It needs to be planned and shaped by those who are doing the work.”

Echoing Joyce’s perspective, The Commonwealth Fund/Kaiser Physician Survey of 2015 showed lack of clinical knowledge and one-on-one patient encounters were not to blame for the majority of physician problems.

Business plans aren’t typically considered part of a medical education. Neither are balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements. Yet physicians with these business skills have greater control over their practices, and therefore over patient outcomes.

Joyce, with Paul Gurny, MBA, M.S., in "Training Physicians in the Business of Medicine Ultimately Improves Healthcare Delivery," address the misconceptions in enhancing the business skills of physicians. Namely, that a complementary business education is something to be looked down upon, and that running a practice “like a business” is counterproductive to patient outcomes.

Joyce and Gurny also detail educational opportunities short of an MBA available to physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Rather than singling out “physician leaders” for business education, Joyce and Gurny argue for a “bottom-up” approach that improves morale, patient outcomes and practice performance.

Training Physicians in the Business of Medicine

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