Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 5 - Page 15

THE MBA AS MEDICAL ARMOR AUTHOR John Dickens
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR LEADERSHIP

THE MBA AS MEDICAL ARMOR AUTHOR John Dickens

It has been said that in today ’ s health care industry , physicians are being asked to not only do more with less but also to do better with less . Physicians are tasked with seeing more patients and documenting patient care more than ever , and also with driving improved patient outcomes . We are held responsible for treatment adherence and system utilization with fewer resources as the “ corporatization ” of medicine continues its unrelenting growth . For many physicians , these duties represent an erosion of the basic elements of personalized medical care they were trained to practice . Instead , they embody monolithic performance metrics created by non-clinical administrators . Sometimes , these competing priorities can create frustrating conflicts of interest which physicians are unable to address as non-administrative employees without formal business training .

I saw some of these frustrations first-hand as a project manager for Electronic Health Records and Population Health Management companies across the US in the time between graduating from college and beginning the University of Louisville ’ s MD / MBA program . In these roles , I helped my clients take electronic and digital patient data from various software systems and use it to generate programs aimed at improving clinical outcomes and driving increased utilization of services . I found that the clients who were most successful in executing these projects were the health systems that appointed clinicians with business training to help guide implementations and set expectations in coordination with non-administrative practicing physicians .
These physician-leaders with MD / MBAs who were still able to practice clinically seemed to be extremely fulfilled in their jobs . Not only were they able to care for patients individually , but they were also able to influence big-picture decisions and impact health care at scale through their administrative roles . It was also apparent that these men and women could bridge the gap that exists between clinicians and administrators by understanding the viewpoints and contexts of all parties , as well as the nuances required to successfully execute their projects . When I eventually decided to change course and pursue a medical degree , I knew that I wanted to shape my own path to fit a similar career trajectory .
In 2015 , I moved back to Louisville to enroll in UofL ’ s post-baccalaureate pre-medical program with the purpose of eventually applying to UofL ’ s MD / MBA dual-degree track . I knew that the dual-degree path would be a perfect fit because I would be able to learn the valuable skills and knowledge of business administration while simultaneously completing my medical school curriculum and
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