Pain physician opens integrative clinic after earning Kelley Physician MBA

When it comes to pain, there are a variety of treatment approaches that don’t always add up to the prescription of opioids. At his new clinic, Cutting Edge Integrative Pain Centers, Dr. Orlando Landrum, MD, MBA’16, focuses on taking a deeper look at a patient’s concerns, goals and lifestyle before offering a variety of non-traditional treatments in place of – or in addition to – medication.

“One of my patients had so much ankle pain following a vascular procedure that she couldn’t do her job as a dental hygienist,” Landrum explained. “She didn’t benefit from conventional pain treatment, so we tried an integrative approach using dorsal-root spinal cord stimulation. This treatment reduced her opioids by more than 70 percent, and she returned to work.”

Before he opened his clinic in northern Indiana, Dr. Landrum was the only pain physician in a 40-member medical group that regularly debated how to better manage pain.

“We went back and forth about what should be done and couldn’t agree as physicians,” he said.

Dr. Landrum wanted to provide more options to patients – more technology and alternatives like yoga – but he found that administration resisted this path due to financial reasons.

“I asked leadership to explain to me why, but I was told that the problem might be too complex for me to understand,” remembered Dr. Landrum. “I’m typically persistent enough to learn something new, so I realized if they weren’t willing to teach me, I’d have to learn on my own. I’d recently received a flyer from the Kelley School of Business and decided to check out the Physician MBA Program.”

Dr. Landrum enrolled in the program expecting to gain a better grasp of finance and accounting.

But he found that the Kelley Physician MBA went even further, guiding him to see the bigger picture and often, through a global lens.

“For instance, right now we’re looking at how to incorporate a cash-based service line into our model,” he said. “A cash-based model might also provide discounted hotels or bed and breakfasts to cater to patients traveling from out of state for care. Through my global healthcare studies course at Kelley, I saw that in the program in person, when we traveled to the Czech Republic. I’d thought it was innovative that the financial structure could support such a model. If I hadn’t had that experience, I would’ve thought it was a silly idea- but I’ve seen travel medicine at work!”

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Kelley Physician MBA students in Prague during the global healthcare study course.

Dr. Landrum says he employs lessons from the negotiations course every day – not only as a self-employed physician, but also in deciding the approach for a patient conversation. “Some patients want to have a distributive discussion – a paternalistic, physician tells them what to do, discussion,” He said. “I learned that if I try to give that patient an integrative, win-win solution, it could alienate them. These nuances of negotiation have been incredibly useful.”

Dr. Landrum’s experience as a pain specialist was integral in group discussions during the healthcare policy course that took him and his classmates to Washington, D.C., where they learn about the creation of medical legislature. He was able to weigh in on conversations with lobbyists and attorneys about how to best address the opioid crisis as a multidimensional problem, involving everything from insurance companies to unique approaches to pain.

“It’s our jobs as physicians to determine how best to utilize unique offerings to help people in a different way, as opposed to the algorithmic approach that, thus far, hasn’t proved successful,” he said. “The business law courses led by Kelley Professor of Business LawJulie Manning Magidwere phenomenal. It pushed me to reflect that I was ‘talking the talk’ about what patients need, but was I going to do something about it?”

He decided to take action.

Following in-depth work with his career coach at Kelley, Dr. Landrum solidified his belief that there was a niche for a different kind of pain practice.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to collaborate, which is a big takeaway from my MBA,” he said. “There are different specializations of pain therapists providing online therapy, live videos of yoga, Tai chi. It affords a lot of flexibility. If a patient can’t do yoga or because insurance won’t cover it, we’ll work together to find a community class, so patients can accomplish their goals in a cost-effective way. That’s our integrative approach.”

He says physicians who recognize room for improvement in the administration of their clinical care, or those who understand healthcare can be delivered better, should consider an MBA.

“The ability to go beyond simply being a cog in the machinery of medicine and instead, direct how you want that machinery to turn, is huge,” said Dr. Landrum. “I have yet to see a physician who doesn’t think that capability would create impact in their practice and in their patient care.”