This is a big reason why many of our physicians enroll in Kelley’s physician-only MBA program. They want to make positive changes in healthcare,” said Tatikonda. “They come in with ideas, but they know they need to know more in order to implement them. With the right business knowledge and skills, they can lead changes and interact with non-physician and physician executives who have management training on the same level.”
“This is why I joined the Kelley Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program. I knew this was possible; I just needed the tools and knowledge to do it. Understanding processes, finance and leadership are all imperative to providing better service for our patients,” said Gardner.
Kelley Physician MBA students are learning skills beyond the medical science of taking care of a patient. They’re learning how the healthcare system will deliver that healthcare to patients by studying finance, accounting, marketing, leadership and Lean Six Sigma. When applied to healthcare, Lean Six Sigma process improvement can mean preventing medical errors, increasing quality of care and outcomes, reducing lengths of stay and improving patient (and clinician) satisfaction. Physician students can earn a Green Belt certification during the Kelley Physician MBA Program.
The Roudebush VA Medical Center has a pilot program right now, implementing Lean Six Sigma concepts to encourage process improvement. The urology clinic is taking it one step further, looking over all processes.
“Roudebush has what many believe is the best improvement program of any VA hospital,” said Tatikonda. “Over the last 10 years or so, this VA hospital has put in Lean operations, Lean improvement ideas and other continuous improvement ideas.”
Gardner and his Physician MBA classmates also worked with Tatikonda on a project to improve timely care of veterans with a cancer diagnosis. This project led to the redesign of the clinic’s scheduling process and submission process for patient consults.
“As physician leaders, our students can make a big difference in the management of individual projects,” Tatikonda said. “Process improvement is where the rubber meets the road. Our physician MBAs are leading the changes they want to make. And they’re seeing magnificent results.”
“Realizing process improvement doesn’t just happen; it takes teams from different departments working together. This is leadership in the best way,” added Tatikonda. “Many of these improvements can be applied at other hospitals. The VA is a national system. When we see changes in improvements or best practices, this can be shared and spread across the system.”