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Doctors seek aid from business schools

Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2009

When Christopher Barton took over as chief of emergency medicine at San Francisco General Hospital this year, he became responsible for balance sheets, income statements, and a sprawling staff—all with no formal business training under his belt. The emergency room's patient load had also begun to swell—up nearly 20% in the past year, according to Dr. Barton, adding to his management headaches. So Dr. Barton decided to get some business school training, a move many physicians are making to cope with the ever-changing pace and paperwork of modern day healthcare. Nurses, private practice managers, and hospital administrators are also seeking guidance on how to analyze the slew of data now accessible to them, with the hope of improving the quality of care and lowering costs. Schools are responding with business management programs geared toward the medical community.