Physicians need more than clinical chops to succeed in today's healthcare jobs market

Doctor with computer and gadgets
Today's doctors need more than their clinical skills to succeed.

Despite all their years of education, young physicians don't always have the skills they need to succeed once they hit the healthcare jobs market.

When LinkedIn asked more than 500 physicians earlier this year about the nonclinical skills they need to advance their careers, they listed factors such as business and finance, practice management, productivity and computer and technology skills.

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In the survey, 75% of respondents said these nonclinical skills are more important than they were in the past because of deep and rapid changes in the healthcare industry.

But those skills are often learned in the real world, rather than medical school. That was the case for Derek Raghavan, M.D., president of the Levine Cancer Institute at Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, North Carolina. He says some of his most important training came from driving a cab during medical school. There he learned about developing personal relationships with the people who took a back seat in his vehicle.

At an event this week that brought together physician leaders, Brent James, M.D., vice president and chief quality officer at Intermountain Healthcare, said a new standard may emerge in medicine for hiring physicians, with more importance placed on their ability to lead.

RELATED: Doctors need both medical and business school skills

Recognizing the need to develop business skills, more physicians are putting both M.D. and M.B.A. credentials after their names. And medical schools are also offering resources so that their medical students learn about business before they go into practice.

It’s time medical schools teach fundamental business and leadership training that doctors need to maximize quality and reduce costs in their clinical practices, Robert M. Pearl, M.D., executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, and Alexander L. Fogel, a student at the Stanford University School of Medicine, recently wrote in NEJM Catalyst.