Q: What do you wish you'd known when you finished your residency?
Health care is a business, and I wish I had business training! During medical school, we focus on learning the fundamentals of medical science, including anatomy, physiology, and pathology.
In residency, we focus on becoming experts in the use of imaging to diagnose and treat diseases covering the spectrum from the ordinary to the obscure. This knowledge is the foundation of a successful practice and career in radiology. It, however, is only part of the equation. Show me a successful and stable radiology practice, and I will show you a successful business.
Most young radiologists, and physicians for that matter, have no understanding of the business and economic principles of their profession. I had little exposure to these topics by the end of my residency. Instead, I was solely focused on learning medicine. Formal training on basic principles of accounting, contract negotiation, coding, and marketing is of tremendous value, whether you are in academics or private practice. Understanding these principles allows one to adapt and thrive in a dynamic health care market and to successfully negotiate employment opportunities.
"Show me a successful and stable radiology practice, and I will show you a successful business." — Peter T. Evangelista, MD
The easiest part of a radiology practice is practicing radiology. As my career has evolved I have come to appreciate the importance of the non-clinical aspects of my job. While I am now learning these lessons, I am certain that formalized training would have made for an easier transition. In the end, understanding the basic business concepts allows autonomy in the pursuit of a successful and fulfilling career in radiology.
Peter T. Evangelista, MD
Assistant professor of diagnostic imaging, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
Director of musculoskeletal radiology, Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, R.I.