Recent articles and healthcare reforms have spurred discussion of the business side of healthcare. It is not only about the patient. Physicians today must manage a multitude of tasks from hiring staff to building their practice, and protecting their livelihood with physician disability insurance.
One article emphasized the idea that “healing is an art, medicine is a profession and health care is a business.” Running a practice involves balancing a multitude of entities from healthcare policy changes, malpractice suits, hiring, to advertising and marketing, not to mention patient care. Consequently, more physicians are learning to think like entrepreneurs, developing business skills to handle day-to-day duties.
To strengthen their business training, some have taken the higher education route, combining their medical degrees with M.B.A.’s to more effectively manage their practice. In the early 90’s there were 5-6 joint M.D./M.B.A. programs in the U.S. Now there are sixty-five according to the New York Times. While a noble route, adding another degree also increases student debt and the number of years spent in school, an already sizable load for a medical student.
Many have called for more business and healthcare classes to be incorporated into medical school curriculum. Two University of Michigan physicians and a U-M medical school graduate both called for medical education to include instruction on how healthcare systems function in Media Health Leaders. Co-author Matthew Davis found in his previous research that fewer than half of graduating medical students in the U.S. said they received adequate training in healthcare systems and the economics of practicing medicine.
As a medical professional, as much as you want to throw yourself into caring for your patients, your research, and your work, healthcare is a business. You need a long term business plan that not only will help your business thrive, but protect your livelihood as well. Have you factored a worst-case scenario into your business plan? What if you were injured, or fell ill, and could no longer practice?
Just as physicians must develop the business skills necessary to run their practice, they need to take measures to protect themselves as well. Physician disability insurance can protect you and your family in the event that you can no longer practice medicine. Having a Doctor Disability policy is sensible for a range of medical professionals, from anesthesiologists, general practitioners, surgeons, and dentists.