Healthcare News & Insights

Is an MBA the new prereq for M.D.s?

The changing nature of health care means physicians have more patient information available to them than ever before. Problem is, they don’t always understand the business side of the industry.

As more records go digital, hospitals and practices are better able to track everything from patient wait times to the rates and costs of hospital-acquired infections. But health care providers, who typically have little formal business training, don’t always have the tools to make the most effective use of all that data.

That’s why several universities and hospitals are now offering business courses — and even advanced degrees — for health care practitioners who want to learn a little more about the business side of the industry.

While it may not be immediately obvious how bean-counting can have a direct impact on patient care, the Wall Street Journal recently reported on a University of Pennsylvania program that aims to do just that.

The Penn Medicine Leadership Forum is a non-degree program run by the Wharton School of Business for employees of Penn’s medical branches. Doctors, nurses and providers who finished the program have gone on to begin programs to address issues such as surgical site infections. The programs are based on the teams’ analyses of existing patient data.

And because of improved data collection, clinicians will be able to see exactly how much of an impact these initiatives had — and how much time or money they save — instead of having to rely on a gut feeling that things are operating more efficiently.

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