We’ve all heard it before. Doctors are terrible business people. It’s not my job. We are trained to take care of patients, not take care of business. It’s not our culture.
But, why is it that doctors are averse to business and what is it about the medical and medical educational culture that makes us that way? Here are my reasons:
- The culture teaches patients first, not profits . There is a conflict between the ethics of medicine and the ethics of business. The reality is , however, no margin no mission.
- There are not enough hours in the medical school curriculum to teach practice management or entrepreneurship. The reality is that everyone has the same number of hours in a day. Pracitice management is not a priority.
- There are not enough people on a medical school faculty to teach the subjects. The reality is that dental schools do it, practice plans do it , clinic administrators do it. There are a lot of people on campus who can teach it.
- Students and residents are not interested in learning business because they are tired and have too many clinical obligations. The reality is that practice management , bioinnovation and entrepreneurship can easily be integrated into the curriculum. If the ACGME made it an accreditation requirement, it would happen tomorrow.
The culture of medicine is toxic for residents and students , making them depressed, suicidal and cynical. By perpetuating a cuture that ignores the realities of surviving in the marketplace, we are putting them on the front lines without guns and ammunition. At best, it’s educational malpractice. At worst , it’s cruel .