It’s Time to Talk About Medicine and Business Education

It was good to be back in Philadelphia for the Wharton Health Care Business Conference on Feb. 20 to 21, which I try to attend each year. This year, for the first time, I had an opportunity to meet with a group of students from the Perelman School of Medicine. I heard about the challenges they face and the questions they have about the rapidly changing business environment for new doctors.

I have spent the past few years teaching entrepreneurship and business fundamentals to scientists and engineers, and the encounter with the medical students got me thinking: How could we best include the concepts of entrepreneurship, commerce and economics into the medical school curriculum so that new physicians could participate in and lead the transformation of the health care business ecosystem?451239445

During the train ride back to New York, I created an outline for such a course, Basic Science of Business and Medicine 101.

Unit 1: The basic science of prices.

Where do prices come from and what’s a gross margin? Do the competitive dynamics of the marketplace for a new product or service translate into gross margins sufficiently high to finance growth and expansion and further research and development?

Unit 2: The embryology of entrepreneurship and qualitative language in the business world.

Planning and executing on:

A. Creation of a company (legal entity; business communication, part 1, from description through elevator pitch and business plan.
B. Funding from inception to profitability.
C. Protection of proprietary content.
D. Establishing proof of concept of innovation.

Unit 3: The quantitative language of the business world.

A. Decision-making in finance, the language of capital structure, right and wrong ways to pay for things.
B. Putting a value on the company, issuing debt and selling equity.
C. Communication in business, part 2: financial statements.

Unit 4: The business life cycle—from small proprietorship to company to corporation, private company to public company.

A. Challenges in management and financing.
B. Regulatory considerations and opportunities for business development.
C. Exits with emphasis on the negotiation process.

Many, but not all, of these topics are part of the Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology course I already teach, but the medical school course would be broader and encompass much more of the health care economy than just advanced therapeutics.

Four units, four years of medical school in which to cover them, and an opportunity for the University of Pennsylvania to once again lead in medicine and business education.

Anyone want to talk?

 

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