Focus Areas

The Synchronization of Business and Healthcare

By Andrea Fetchko

The Physicians Foundation awarded a grant to the Indiana Medical Foundation to develop a business leadership program for physicians. Sandra Miller, Director of Practice Management for the Indiana State Medical Association, discusses the partnership with Butler University and how it is helping physicians acquire business acumen.

Q: Please tell us about the grant and how it will be utilized.

A: The Physicians Foundation grant is being used to provide executive-level leadership and business acumen programming to Indiana physicians through the ISMA’s partnership with Butler University’s Executive Education Department. Our goal is to offer live courses in early 2016 and 2017.

Q: Why is business acumen important in today’s healthcare environment?

A: Management skills, marketing expertise and financial competencies are critical to compete within corporate health care organizations, especially at the leadership level. Physicians, whether in private practice or employed, need to understand Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, IT systems, budgeting and contract negotiations in terms of cost reductions and efficiencies. Health care is a business that demands leaders who can find innovative ways to deliver quality care more affordably and efficiently while reducing costs.

Q: How has this program helped to re-engage physicians and inspire physician leadership?

A: Leadership and business are not part of medical school curriculum, nor are the concepts introduced during residency. Physicians and their practices are a key component to the success of larger organizations. Not to mention, the concepts delivered in this executive-level program can be applied to physicians’ current practice. This program empowers doctors to make informed decisions, allowing their practices or organizations to compete and evolve in an environment of constant regulatory and payment changes.

Q: Based on the results of the 2015 programming, what adjustments or improvements have you made or are planning to make for 2016?

A: Based on the results of our 2015 program, the 2016 courses will be in a concentrated format by providing 12 hours of education over a weekend, rather than offering ad hoc courses over several weeks. We believe this will have the most impact in encouraging physician engagement. Additionally, we have incorporated the use of an interactive whiteboard into our classroom for a more optimal learning environment. Currently, we are finalizing strategies for both local and online delivery of this education.

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