To Train Physicians for Business Leadership, Think Beyond the MBA

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , May 13, 2011

Collins completed the program in April 2010, and credits it with helping him become more "appropriately focused," he says. "It's sort of like thinking ahead on how we'll know we'll be successful." 

He says the program isn't perfect, but it's a good alternative to the demands placed on physicians by an MBA program. One nuance about physician business and leadership training is that it's essential for changing the way physicians, who are at the heart of every decision on care, approach healthcare. 

"Transformation is going to require physician leadership and we just don't have it," he says. He stresses that business and leadership training as healthcare moves to a team-based approach is essential not only for CMOs, VPs of medical affairs or medical directors. The need for the ability to blend leadership and management knowledge with the understanding about patient care that physicians have is essential for committee chairs and quality directors, among other titles, as well. 

"They're doing more of this in medical schools, but that will help the next generation," he says. "More systems devoting time and resources to physician leadership, but the prevailing attitude among physicians is that this is something you do when you retire. There's almost a stigma. It's not highly valued among physicians yet." 

But that's changing, because physicians and health systems are learning much more about how myopic it is to continue to see the individual physician -- not the care team or evidence -- as the final arbiter of medical interventions.  

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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