Which Specialties are Most Conducive to Business?

Discussion in 'Med Business [ MD/MBA, DO/MBA, DDS/MBA ]' started by indya, May 10, 2010.

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  1. indya

    indya 2+ Year Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    New Jersey
    hSDN Alumni
    I am interested in both business and medicine. I was wondering if some specialties are particularly conducive to business or if there are some specialties which will allow me to pursue both fields (medicine more so, but some business on the side.) I know that in a lot of fields one may start a private practice, but how much does that change salary as compared to working in a hospital setting? Thanks for any answers!
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  3. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    working on my tan......
    Rocket Scientist
    I plan on EM.....
  4. touchadream

    touchadream 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    You will have the most success combining business and medicine if you have the skills and personality to run your own practice. EM is a great choice. I know this can also be successully done in oncology, family medicine, radiology, opthalmology, dermatology. Most doctors, in my experience, are pretty bad at business and have a poor understanding of its nuances, due in large part to their affinity for science and answers. Most are viewed by the business community who befriend them as easily duped. Doctors also tend to look to "other businesses" to keep their lifestyle coming or catch up on retirement, emergency and family or education funds; since they don't have the time or training, this often has a bad ending. A well-run practice, with few, or better ONE decision-maker is your best bet for combining business acumen with medical skills, if you want to succeed financially. Working for a larger instititution in health care business usually leaves the doctor on the outside, provides little financial control over your future, perhaps more security if you are not a risk-taker. Of course, there are exceptions. Personally, as a tax attorney/financial advisor from a family of doctors, I would not GO to a doctor who is good at business. I choose doctors who have done so many of the procedure I need, they could do it in their sleep. Business becomes a greater distraction. Applying business skill, interest, focus and due diligence on your practice dollars is IMO a great way to have both, and also end up with more $. But then there is some randomness and luck in there too. And happiness counts, a lot, more and more as time passes. Good luck!
  5. bronx43

    bronx43 Word. 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Not sure what you mean by business. If you're referring to starting your own private practice, then there are plenty opportunities in medicine to do that. The problem is what the medical landscape will look like by the time you finish your training (if you are indeed a pre-med). From the looks of the way things are going, not many private practices are going to be financially sustainable for the long term.
    It's possible that in ten years, the vast majority of physicians will be hospital employed. However, that still isn't to say that there aren't other business opportunities if you've got the business acumen to pull them off.
  6. DrJosephKim

    DrJosephKim Advisor SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

    Mar 29, 2008
    Definition of "business" is key. I've found that many surgeons love to create devices and are entrepreneurial. Others who share an entrepreneurial spirit include emergency medicine and anesthesiology. Why? Seems like there are many types of opportunities within those fields.

    As for traditional corporate business, I'd say: primary care, internal medicine, hospital medicine, etc. Being grounded in fundamental "medical science" is what's key.

    Of course, there are still many different types of opportunities for medical and surgical specialists and some of the most successful medical businesspeople are specialists.
  7. JaggerPlate

    JaggerPlate 7+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    The fact that many news docs are going to be looking for ways to stay above water and revamp the private practice model in a system that encourages (aka forces) docs into big, managed organizations makes me wonder if there will be new niche consulting markets in the future. Consulting firms that focus on setting up private practices in the future, establishing cash based practices, etc.

  8. bronx43

    bronx43 Word. 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Hmm, I think that would be a difficult thing to do. The first thing that I foresee as a problem is that there will still be business savvy physicians that, if maintaining a viable private practice is possible, would be able to do so. Medical practices aren't like large corporations in that a single physician with minimal staff can oversee its entire operation, and the finances would be far more straight forward than for a larger corporation - thus limiting the need for a consultant.
    Haha, actually, even in large corporations, internal affairs can usually solve most of the company's problems. Management/strategy consulting is about as murky as it gets when it comes to efficacious results and proposals. My buddy at BCG says his boss always tells their analysts that the best thing you can do after 6 months of working on a project is to rehash what the client tells you on the first day, and if the numbers don't fit, make them fit. :laugh:

    An even bigger problem that in such an economic milieu for medicine, practices will be run very lean. Physicians will be very reluctant to add to their operating costs (this is true even during good times) in order to hire an advisor. Even if there are a few physicians out there willing to pay for consulting services, i still don't see a big enough market to sustain an actual consulting firm. (maybe a small 2-3 man group is possible)

    Also, a big part of running a success practice is growth of patient load, which will be HIGHLY variable depending on location. The business model for a rural practice would be far different from one in a supersaturated market in an urban setting. And even similarly sized markets in different states would have very different needs. It would be extremely difficult for consultants to become well versed enough in these nuances to be able to provide long term significant value adds to the client.

    Private practice consulting can still be a viable idea, depending on the landscape of healthcare. Those are just a few issues that come to mind without deeper analysis.
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  9. JaggerPlate

    JaggerPlate 7+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    Thanks for the reply. I've actually considered many of the points you bring up, and picked up a few good ones I hadn't (variability depending on location). I'm just kind of thinking out loud because I'm interested in private consulting (not at a big firm), but I think the landscape of it has changed a lot in the last decade and I'm not sure where it's headed in the future (hopefully it's not completely dying out). On one hand, I have a feeling that all the obamacare push for docs in big ACOs (err however you'd like to put it) could hurt or even kill HC consulting, but on the other hand, I feel like big change to a system invites this sort of expert opinion??? I dunno. Hahaha, just thinking out loud.
  10. Slack3r

    Slack3r Sicker than your average 7+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2008
    What's this business of EM? I figured most of those guys were hospital employees, unless we were talking about running some kind of urgent-care facility?
  11. medstudentmed

    medstudentmed 5+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2007
  12. exMBB


    Feb 9, 2011
    Quite a few dermatologists have built their own derm companies.

    Radiation oncologists also have built some large practices that now are owned by fortune 100 companies

    Oncologists have also been involved in many biotech start-ups
  13. marble30

    marble30 7+ Year Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    I'm also interested in knowing the answer to this question. Anyone?
  14. simpler2

    simpler2 person 10+ Year Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Many of the ED docs work in groups. If you become a partner or owner of such a group then there is potential for more use of business/management skills there. They own/run urgent care centers as well. Also, because of the vast amount of free time that EM offers, its possible to run a side business as well. The last depends on how often you tend to be manic or the amount of uppers that you use.
  15. Thioester


    Sep 9, 2011
    Good points, very well-said.

    OP, the phrasing "conducive to business" is fairly ambiguous. Does "business" refer to private practice? Hospital administration? Biotech industry? The radiologist who owns a private practice is in a very different position from the oncologist who leads a biotech start-up.
  16. TexasPhysician

    TexasPhysician SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2008
    Using an MBA in the corporate world will decrease your salary. Clinical medicine earns more money.

    The benefit to an MBA is using it to establish your own LARGE practice. If you want to start a small private practice, it would be cheaper and more efficient to hire someone. A large multidisciplinary practice that is efficient and profitable is hard to do from the ground up. Someone with an MBA (vs just MD) may be able to do this more efficiently in certain regions of the country. Having the capital to start a large multidisciplinary clinic is difficult for any one physician, so being able to cut out the costs of hiring other business minded people could be the difference between profit and going broke.

    The majority of MD's with an MBA do not use it, but it can be beneficial in certain areas.
  17. Pseudopseudonym

    Pseudopseudonym 5+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2011

    I know of a guy here in NC that consulted country-wide for private practice physicians to merge to cash only (ie non-insurance) practices. As I recall, he was making several thousand dollars per consult. He quit doing this because he began opening subsidiary companies of his practice in which he got a portion of their revenue. I guess that was significantly more profitable for him.
  18. 235788

    235788 God Complex 2+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    The Slab
    urology and cards (who knows how long though - hear they are getting torpedo'd)
  19. Doc89

    Doc89 2+ Year Member

    Jan 19, 2011
    I know I'm reviving this old thread, but I just had a conversation with my MD/MBA mentor about this and thought I'd share. She mentioned that if you'd like to do "pure business" (i.e. finance, consulting, etc...) where you will effectively be pursuing 2 careers simultaneously, it may be better to be in a speciality with a predictable work schedule where you can work part time (such as ER, anesthesia, etc....). Basically something where you can schedule shifts and not be on call every day. That being said, with all of the recent trends towards doctors being employed by larger groups and/or hospitals, this may not make such a big deal in a few years as you may be able to set your own schedule in virtually every field (albeit while taking the necessary pay cut).

    If you're interested in pursuing business in the sense of running your own practice and the likes, I think any speciality conducive to private practice would work out best (for example, it may be hard to utilize your MBA if you're a neurosurgeon working for a trauma center and the administration deals with all the business).

    Either way, you might be able to learn some more here http://www.mdmbas.com/ForMDMBACandidates/ArticlesandResources/

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