The Business of Teaching the Business of Medicine

Most medical students do not feel comfortable with the business of medicine. That is not surprising given that most medical schools do not teach it and residents do not have to demonstrate any competency in the business of medicine to graduate and get board certification.

Most medical students do not feel comfortable with the business of medicine. That is not surprising given that most medical schools do not teach it and residents do not have to demonstrate any competency in the business of medicine to graduate and get board certification. The reasons are many, including seeing “money as dirty,” a perception that there has been too much emphasis on profits instead of patients that erodes medical professionalism, a lack of medical student and resident interest, and the fact that education is a cost center, not a profit center, in academic medical centers. So, like most market vacuums, others have rushed in to fill the need in the form of consultants, organizations, seminars, online courses, and practice management advisors.

Learning objectives and competencies should be a mandatory part of medical and resident education. Here's what it will take:

1. A change in attitude and culture at medical schools and resources that back it

2. Clearly defined, market-based learning objectives and curriculum

3. Competency-based formative and summative assessments

4. Better faculty and industry knowledge exchange

5. Incentives for faculty to participate

6. Differentiating management from leadership from entrepreneurship

7. Including state of the art digital health technologies and simulation labs

8. Interdisciplinary education and team based care

9. Openness to alternative, non-clinical career development

10. Mentoring

Teaching and learning the business of medicine is becoming a critical part of medical education ability to survive and thrive. Not requiring this competency hurts patients and graduates alike and borders on educational malpractice. It's time to change and stop all this medical business monkey business.