MDs Taking an Interest in Health Care Business

As the health care industry faces the challenge of providing quality care at lower costs, more physicians are looking to get MBA degrees to be better able to help improve health care in the U.S.

Health care needs more physicians with some business education (as Jeff Brown, MD, always points out). The industry is facing the incredible challenge of providing quality care at lower costs and physicians are expected to step up and lead the community and the industry to a solution. So perhaps it is not surprising that MD/MBA programs are becoming more commonplace.

These joint programs have been around for years (decades, even), but they’re gaining more popularity among physicians and med students. Today, there are over 54 MD/MBA programs in the U.S. with an estimated 500 dual degree graduates per year, according to the Association of MD MBA Programs.

Kaiser Health News and The Boston Globe recently produced a report, revealing that more physicians are pursuing executive MBA degrees. According to the report, more than 50% of medical schools offer the joint degree.

At MIT’s Sloan School of Management, students from the health care field make up nearly 20% of the program’s 2014 class, and at the University of California, Irvine, practicing physicians taking the health care executive MBA program over 50% from 35% two years ago.

The Affordable Care Act and other changes in the health marketplace are driving this interest in MBA degrees, according to Kaiser and the Globe:

Dr. Suma Thomas is a cardiologist who attended MIT while practicing at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington. When working with associations dedicated to improving patient care, she said she realized that "doctors don't have the tools to improve our health care system."