Why You Should Start Thinking About Medicine as a Business

Does an MBA fit with an MD?

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October 2015

Radiology residency is meant to prepare us to become the best diagnosticians within its limited four years of training. This single focus on the diagnostic side of radiology often results in a lack of understanding of the business of medicine.

Many may think that an MBA would only be useful for radiologists headed into private practice. The skills learned in an MBA program are useful in keeping an organization or department running efficiently and effectively. To succeed in a value-based environment, radiologists will need abilities in public speaking, leadership, general communication, working in groups, etc. – all of which can be learned in an MBA program or leadership programs, such as the Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI).

As I progress throughout my training as a future Neuroradiologist, the amount of free time I have is becoming more limited and therefore more valuable. I was fortunate to be able to obtain my MBA in Health Care Leadership during medical school. As a fellow in training, I have had the opportunity to utilize many of my skills that I obtained from my MBA. My public speaking and working group skills have been utilized by providing lectures, presenting at national and international meetings, and participating in tumor boards. I have also used my leadership and management skills through projects, such as posting reference materials at the reading station, and conferences.

My MBA background has spurred my interest in reading and investigating other aspects of the business that I am not as frequently exposed to in the reading room. Some of the resources I tend to use include the JACR®, The Wall Street Journal, and Medical Economics. My interest has not been limited to radiology, as I have read up on various business topics in other specialties. It is important for us to understand how radiology is intertwined with other departments so that we can better meet the needs of other departments. The mixture of these readings tends to cover the majority of the pertinent topics.

Many of the national and international radiology meetings, including the annual meetings of the ACR and RSNA, now cover business-related topics. The ACR also now offers the RLI, which provides avenues for radiologists who are interested in pursuing an MBA. The RLI offers business-related lectures for anyone interested in learning more about business in radiology. You can also look into what your fellowships are offering – some now offer a combined MBA track.

To give our patients the best care possible, radiology leaders need to be well rounded and must understand both the clinical and business aspects of medicine. We need to know how to juggle being a good clinician, maintaining structure within the organization, teaching other medical professionals, and innovating. A health care focused MBA will teach these skills and assist radiologists in integrating them in their practices.

Physicians often do not want to think of medicine as a business, but we must change that perception if we want our organizations to succeed and prosper.

GADDE JUDITH MD05034  By Judith Gadde, DO, MBA,ACGME Accredited Neuroradiology Fellow,University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Madison, WI

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