Business

University of Iowa, Iowa Medical Society to teach business of health care

Course to use practical knowledge that can be used 'in the clinic'

Alex Taylor
Alex Taylor

The Iowa Medical Society and the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business have teamed up to give the state’s physicians a crash course in business.

The two groups, along with the UI’s Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health, have put together a curriculum covering the basics of how to run a health care business.

“We want to give them practical information and knowledge that they get on Friday and can apply back in the clinic on Monday,” said Clare Kelly, executive director of IMS, which represents Iowa’s physicians, residents and medical students.

Leaders for the groups plan to offer the education first to attendees at IMS’s annual conference in Des Moines April 28 to 29 to gauge interest and build the program from there. They eventually will offer online courses as continuing medical education — requirements for those in the medical field to help physicians and others maintain knowledge and learn about new areas in their field.

“The intent is for us to pilot this program, and survey member physicians on program needs and the desires they have,” said Alex Taylor, UI’s associate director of the Executive MBA program.

Tippie worked with the UI’s College of Medicine to develop a similar program for medical students, offering elective courses on accounting, negotiation, human resources and team work, among other topics.

The Distinction Track program is comprised of 12 topics, delivered in four-hour blocks, one Saturday per quarter, over the course of a three-year period. Students who complete the program are awarded a Certificate in Health Care Delivery Science and Management.

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There also are possibilities to extend similar educational courses to the state’s dentists, nurses and pharmacists. Taylor said he’d like this to gain enough traction with IMS that it becomes a standard in the Midwest and the nation.

Medical professionals “don’t get this education, it’s so foreign to them,” he said. “We take for granted simple business ideas that they don’t get exposed to. ... They might be handed a budget and told to stay within this and they don’t know how.

“We wants to give them the tools to be effective, good stewards of our health care dollars.”

Teaching physicians — both practicing and those still learning — about the business of health care is becoming more important than ever, IMS’s Kelly said, as more physicians are being asked to fill leadership roles, use data to improve health outcomes and work with a wide-range of medical professionals to deliver coordinated care.

“More and more it’s important to be versed by the C-suite language,” she said. “You need to be able to speak the language, understand a spreadsheet, know where revenue comes from and pitch that idea or business solution.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8331; chelsea.keenan@thegazette.com

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