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With ever increasing economic and regulatory pressure on health care practices from all sides, clinician-owners are realizing the need to educate themselves on the business of their practices.  More and more are doing so by returning to school – business school.

For reasons that are both varied and complicated, having an MBA degree is proving vital for many in the medical profession.

“Health care is not going in a healthy direction,” [Dr. Timothy] Willox said. “It’s fine being a surgeon and helping people on a day-to-day basis. But in order to change a process, you have to look at the bigger picture.”

And the big picture is troubling for many doctors: rising malpractice costs, fights with insurance companies, Medicare rates that don’t pay the bills, increasing regulations, competition from bigger groups. Hospitals are merging and single-doctor offices are becoming rarer. All around, the practice of medicine seems to change yearly.

Willox wanted to have a bigger say in how the changes affected him.

Alan Wechsler, in this recent article, mentions that in addition to the increasing number of physicians returning to business school we are also seeing an increase in number of schools that offer dual MD and MBA degrees.  Many will agree that medical schools have not done a great job preparing physicians for the business of their practice, and as the pressures of business increase it seems that schools are responding in turn.