How We Succeed: Dave Hormuth, MD’83, Physician MBA’15
I’ve been a surgeon for 24 years. I do heart surgery, lung surgery, and transplant surgery on hearts and lungs. I recently started the Physician MBA with the Kelley School of Business.
One of the challenges that we face as physicians is how we should interact with our business colleagues in managing the costs that patients incur with their health care. As physicians, we are passionate about the care that we want to give our patients. But we don’t always understand how decisions are made in the business world. Being able to blend these two aspects of health care is important to me.
I have a passion for helping people when they are at the most vulnerable times of their lives, when they are ill. That’s where my compassion and drive comes from to be a surgeon. As a physician, I want to comfort them and to let them know that I have the ability and the confidence to do the operation or to care for them in the ways they want to be cared for.
When you have a patient who’s at the most vulnerable point of their life, whether they’ve been seriously injured or they’re in the process of dying or they have a major medical illness that needs direct attention, and you turn it around, that’s success.
For patient care, they’ve entrusted their life to me. I know what needs to be done to get a patient through an operation, to get them through the hospitalization, and to get them better. One of the stumbling blocks that we have, and it’s no fault of anyone’s, is that we may not know exactly how the cost of that is going to impact them. We may not understand any of the business side of medicine that we should know as physicians. And so that’s a challenge. Our challenge is that we have passionate physicians who want to care for patients at the highest quality level, yet, on the other side, to provide that highest quality level, we have to be very fiscally responsible, and we have to look at how we can be proactive in their care.
The decisions you make as a physician impact so many different parts of the health care team—the hospital system, your office, what the patients pay as co-pays, what you get as pharmacy charges, where you have rehabilitation. There are a lot of decisions that physicians have the ability to make, and there is also the downstream effect of those decisions, that we’re really probably not as well versed as we should be.
The Business of Medicine MBA takes the fundamentals of business, integrates them with the problems that we have in healthcare, and provides a solution.