Docs adding MBAs to MDs in healthcare business

More physicians today are training as entrepreneurs in the business of healthcare, reports the New York Times yesterday. In addition to medical degrees, physicians are more often seeking business degrees to supplement their training.

"A light bulb went off and they realize that health care is a business," said Mark V. Pauly of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in the article.

With as many as 500 students in these types of programs, there are currently 65 joint MD/MBA degree programs in the country, compared to only a handful in the 1990s, according to the article.

"All physicians need some kind of business training," said Dr. Chandler, president of the Association of M.D./M.B.A. Programs. "For example, some physicians with large research grants don't know how to manage the money."

In addition, hospitals are breaking with tradition and looking at physician candidates for hospital boards, according to American College of Physician Executives Chief Executive Dr. Barry R. Silbaugh.

Interestingly enough, a recent study in the Social Science and Medicine found that the best run hospitals are those managed by physicians and not by (nonclinical) managers. Researchers in Germany found that physician-run hospitals had a 25 percent higher quality score, compared to those run by nonclinical CEOs.

For more information:
- read the NYT article

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