by Guy M. Kezirian, MD, MBA, FACS
Bloomberg recently posted an article about the conflicts in values between physicians and health-care executives (see link below). It is about time!
Recognition that patient care is harmed when physicians do not participate in management is welcome. Reasons why physicians have not taken executive roles include time, inconvenience and business training. Business school curricula are time-consuming and frankly teach at a slower pace than physicians could absorb. This explains (at least in part) why MD-MBA programs that do not tailor the curriculum to a physician level are not popular.
As readers here know, SurgiVision® Consultants, Inc. recently collaborated with Kellogg School of Management to create the Physician CEO™ program. This program offers core courses in leadership, negotiations, operations, finance and marketing exclusively to physicians. It takes place in four 5-day modules held approximately 10 weeks apart and makes very efficient use of physician time. While it is designed primarily for physicians practicing in cash-pay medicine, we also hope it will help put more physicians in the C-suite in major hospital systems.
Physician aversion to being involved in management goes deeper than training, however. The classic theory of the firm is that it exists to maximize shareholder value. But few physicians practice to maximize their “shareholder value.” Rather, they practice to provide the best possible care to patients. The difference represents a sea-change of business values that requires a redefinition of the theory of the firm, at least in medicine, to balance patient interests with profit motives.
It is easy to trace the ballooning of medical costs to the takeover of medical C-suites by MBAs, who see medicine as purely business and run it accordingly. If and when physicians resume control over medicine, as they should, the theory of the medical firm will likely change as well.
It is all about values.