Saturday, April 10, 2010

MD/MBA Careers in Clinical Management

Christopher Baugh, MD, MBA (Medical Director, ED Observation Unit at the Brigham and Woman's Hospital) gave a great presentation this afternoon at the Association of MD/MBA Programs (AMMP) 8th Annual Conference. I loved the story about how Dr. Steve Ober met Dr. Baugh (it was in the emergency department). You'll have to watch the archived recording to hear his story.

Dr. Baugh studied at Penn and got his MBA at Wharton. He spent one summer (2003) with GlaxoSmithKline and another summer (2004) with McKinsey & Company. He worked on Medicare Part D brand strategy for a top global pharma company. He went into emergency medicine and turned down a full-time offer from McKinsey when he graduated.

Decisions to pursue an MD was balanced with benefits and concerns.

  • Interesting subject matter
  • Autonomy
  • Important decisions
  • Career stability
  • Poor satisfaction
  • Malpractice
  • Conflict with insurance companies
  • Long hours: work/life balance
The decision to pursue an MBA:
  • Valuable skill set
  • A broader understanding of the world around me
  • Able to follow the money (a better understanding finance)
  • Preparation for future as a manager and leader
  • Timing (now vs. later)
Pursuing clinical medicine
  • Had a full-time offer from McKinsey
  • Decisions to enter the match, complete a residency
  • Obstacles during the residency interview process
During residency, he was able to use some of his B-school skill sets by going through a 4-year residency that allowed him to have more elective time:
  • Focus of scholarly projects
    • Options modeling for Observation Unit patients
    • Hand hygiene initiative
    • ACEP Quality and Performance Committee
    • Research into quality metrics
  • Difficult to keep network active
Why a career in clinical management?
  • Advantages:
    • Direct synergy with continuing clinical practice of medicine
    • Meaningful work with tangible results
    • Opportunity to apply management tools and theory from other industries to clinical setting
    • Leadership should recognize the unique skill set you bring 
  • Disadvantages:
    • Traditional dogma (put skilled clinicians in management roles)
    • Work in large organization that is slow to change
    • Very political environment
    • Depending on setting, capital constrains will limit options
    • Others (including peers) may not share your views
MBA training and clinical practice
  • The B-School skill set is a valuable addition to traditional clinical training
  • Get a sense of the big picture (why the system operates the way it does)
  • Negotiations and group dynamics
  • Professionalism as faculty
  • Networks and strategic career development
Now, he  is responsible for the urgent care clinic at Patriot Place. He's faced with a different set of resources compared with the Brigham and Women's ER. He's also working on a clinical process improvement  program and some academic projects. He's applying Crystal Ball modeling to the ER. He's mapping the payer landscape for the Observation Unit. He hopes to continue clinical medicine but recognizes that as other responsibilities take up his time, his clinical responsibilities will likely decrease.

Make sure to return in a few weeks to find a hyperlink to Dr. Baugh's slide presentation.

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