Traditional wisdom once said that a doctor was the pinnacle of higher education after completing around a decade in school and years of residency. However, according to reports, more doctors are pursuing an MBA online program. What types of degrees are they earning and what are their reasons for going back to school after becoming medical professionals? Let’s look at the reasons behind this surprising trend and the factors driving it.
Medical Management Is Not Just for the Most Senior Staffer Anymore
The legal maze and complex rules governing hospitals are making it almost impossible to simply hand off to a senior medical staffer. The head of the nursing department is more likely to be an MBA than the most senior nurse on the floor, though he or she may have earned an MBA online to be considered for the promotion.
Medical management has become so complex that it is now its own specialty in many MBA programs like logistics and international business. Medical MBAs are hired to run doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, and medical billing firms. A separate reason for earning a medical MBA for many medical professionals is that their health may not permit them to work with patients anymore, but taking over management of a practice, clinic or other medical service provider allows them to continue helping the community.
Surgeons with decreasing visual acuity and less precise movements are often earning a medical MBA so they can manage the surgical centers they previously operated in. For others, moving into management is a lifestyle choice since it may not require the 70 to 90 hour weeks demanded of many doctors or the shift work that many hospitals require.
Medical IT Is Its Own Discipline Today
Obamacare tied the ability to receive reimbursement for several government healthcare programs to health care providers adopting electronic medical records. Many medical professionals are earning an MBA in information technology from schools like the New Jersey Institute of Technology so that they can move into medical records management. Working in medical records departments and supporting those IT systems requires an understanding of IT, but healthcare providers prefer those who have experience in medicine so that they can integrate the records management with patient needs.
Medical IT may have been pushed into many medical facilities by Obamacare, but the adoption of Electronic Health Records doesn’t end the job of the IT manager. Too many medical facilities selected EHR systems that were good at billing but poor at delivering data on patient health where needed. And there is a broader problem of many competing, incompatible electronic health records systems attempting to share data and the demand for professionals who can specify industry standards and help migrate everyone to shared data management systems for medical records. The need to be able to integrate patient-reported data through health monitors and support telemedicine will only increase demand for medical IT professionals.
Since medical management requires far more than seniority, many medical professionals are earning medical MBAs to move to less physically demanding or less time intensive jobs; others do so simply to move up to management faster. The sheer newness of medical IT as its own field provides opportunities for those who complete a healthcare focused IT MBA degree, while demand for this expertise is only going to grow. And many doctors are earning medical MBAs in order to better run their own businesses or integrate business principles into healthcare for the benefit of all.