Business in Medicine: Where to Start?

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As physicians, we’ve been taught via books, board exams, crashing patients, and infamous pimping rituals. Why is it that we’ve never been taught about Business?

This important subject often gets missed during medical school and residency leaving us less equipped to practice. I’m not talking about your clinical competency but your business competency. Do you know how to keep accounting of your office? Or are you leaving your money in the hands of someone else? Do you know how to market your practice? Invest in it? Build it?

For many physicians, they never have to worry about this aspect but the truth is, you should. It’s an expense that can be easily mitigated if you effectively lead it yourself. Cut down overhead, increase your revenue. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Fine, so you may not have a practice. All right. Well, did you know you can increase your income by consulting? Or increase your chances of getting into high-paying administrative jobs? These positions require a good fund of knowledge in business and the ability to meld your clinical experience with it.

So where does one start?

You have several options.

Join the American College of Physician Executives

This medical organization was created specifically for physicians training to become leaders. The ACPE has several courses pertaining to the business of medicine throughout the year. Some are online, and some are live at a venue. You can also achieve Board Certification as a Physician Executive or get your MBA or MMM through their university sponsors for a discounted price.

Get an MBA

If the ACPE is not your cup of tea, maybe you would prefer to get your MBA at a local university. MBA’s come in all shapes and sizes but the important thing to note here is to check Business Week’s Top 100 Business Schools to see if that business school is listed. If it is, you’re competitive. If it’s not, you might be at a disadvantage.

I just want the basics

Maybe you’re interested now but something about going into more debt is unappealing to you. There are some cheaper alternatives to learn about business. Head over to Sermo, the online physician social network. They have a Certified CME Business of Medicine Series where you can earn CME credit while learning about alternative practice models like concierge medicine or topics such as health information technology.

Research the web and you’ll find plenty of websites that will give you the basics of business. My favorites are Non-Clinical Jobs and Freelance MD. Or, go to your nearest bookstore and browse the business section. My favorite inspiring business book is, Brewing Up A Business, a story about the founder of DogFish beer. This book fueled my passion to learn more about business and entrepreneurship and eventually open up businesses on the side.

Even though our medical education doesn’t lend itself for business education, you should consider learning about it to advance your career or increase your practice’s success.


This is a guest post by Dr. Thuc Huynh. Dr. Huynh is CEO of ScrubdIN, a shopping site for medical apps. Her main interest lies around how medicine can play a role with web 2.0 and social media. Dr. Huynh is currently Chief Resident at her Family Medicine Residency in Rapid City, SD and received her B.S. and M.D. at the Medical University of the Americas.


Here are some more useful business-related links selected by Team MedCrunch:

  • Personal MBA reading list: a reading list of the 99 most essential business books. The websites’s premise is that business knowledge is not reserved for business schools – it can also be learned from books. We have several of these books in our own libraries. They are well worth the read.
  • Online Business Schools: for those of you who don’t have the time to attend an on-site MBA, several US, European and Asian schools offer an online business education. Find out more at this Financial Times ranking.
  • Entrepreneurship Corner: Stanford University’s video platform of interesting talks relating to entrepreneurship and startups. This site contains some real gems. The lectures are also available in podcast format.

5 COMMENTS

  1. im excited to say that i’ve started the ACPE curriculum with the intention of matriculating at one of their MBA university partners! if you have any questions about the program, contact me and i’ll post an answer here on medcrunch.

  2. Would be great if you could share your experiences with us here once you started the program, Thuc!

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