More docs learn about the business of medicine before going into practice

By and large, physicians go into practice notoriously underprepared to handle the business of medicine (which happens to inhabit an environment that gets more complex by the day). A recent event sponsored by the University of New York at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute aimed to help change that dynamic, which some analysts say contributes to low morale among physicians, the Buffalo News reported.

Featured educators at the one-day Understanding the Business of Medicine conference included attorneys with expertise in employment and contract law, who warned residents and fellows of the pitfalls to look out for when offered contracts from potential employers. Another speaker was an expert in coding, auditing and compliance, who summarized with the 80 or so attendees the complexities of medical coding and of adapting to electronic health records.

The Saturday event is an expansion of the university's program in which guest experts visit the school one at a time to speak to residents about these issues, according to the newspaper. Both programs are organized by Iris R. Danziger, M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the university's department of otolaryngology. Like many veteran doctors, Danziger expressed regret she did not have better guidance when opening her first practice. "Basically, I did everything wrong when I started," she said.

Another trend fueled by physicians' desire for business skills is the proliferation of M.D./M.B.A. programs being offered at medical schools throughout the country. This dual education may not just help physicians succeed in clinical practice but also to add value to administrative roles, according to a 2001 study reported by FiercePracticeManagement.

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