The evolving healthcare landscape has many physicians considering new ways of administering care, managing a practice, and pursuing their careers. Implementing new patient care protocols and navigating through the nuances of healthcare legislation requires a certain degree of both medical and business savvy.
Medical Xpress shares the results of a recent study, conducted by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which assessed perceptions of professionals who earned a medical degree and Master of Business Administration (MBA). One of the first of its kind, the study found dual-degree holding clinicians were often thought of as having more professional credibility, and nearly half of respondents felt their MBA “helped to inform their overall business and medical perspectives, supply multidisciplinary experience, and improve communication between the medical and business worlds.”
The study’s senior author –also a professor of medicine at Perelman and a professor of Health Care Management at Wharton—David A. Asch, MD, MBA, believes this hybrid professional has become an essential part of the healthcare workforce. “In 2014, we know that advances in health and healthcare are as likely to come from changes in the organization, management, and financing of healthcare as they are from fundamental discoveries from the basic sciences,” he says. “We need all kinds of contributions to advance national goals in health.”
According to the Medical Xpress article, researchers found participants were increasingly more likely to hold leadership, management, and administrative positions as their careers advanced, which resulted in decreased involvement in patient care. Additionally, respondents stated their dual training has had a positive effect on their individual careers—including career acceleration, professional flexibility, and credibility in multidisciplinary domains—and professional lives.
Since the 1980s, the offering of dual MD/MBA degree programs has increased to include nearly 40 percent of US medical schools. The healthcare management curriculum includes core business classes—such as accounting, finance, marketing, economics, and policy—and students are paired with healthcare companies as part of an immersive field application project.
“Changing dynamics triggered by national healthcare reform will likely require leaders to have a better balance between clinical care and business savvy,” said the study’s lead author, Mitesh S. Patel, MD, MBA. “Graduates with MD and MBA training could potentially fill this growing need within the sector.”