Why did you pursue an MBA?
I’d made that decision just before I got into medical school. I recall first thinking about it after a conversation I had with my father as a teenager. When I told him that I had made up my mind to study medicine, he said, “You should consider getting an MBA as well. Your generation is going to need to have business experience and expertise, and be better in that area than our generation was.” It’s been invaluable for me in terms of preparing me for handling the business side of medicine, including ways to make operations more efficient and to reduce costs without compromising the quality of care provided.
You have worked in both hospital-employed and privately contracted HM programs. Do you prefer one model?
In general, the larger organizations tend to have an advantage in that they have established protocols and processes that work and have been refined over time. Couple that with the economies of scale they enjoy, as we move into an era of value-based purchasing, it’s becoming harder for the smaller community-based hospital to do that as well. That said, I have seen local hospital-run programs that function really well and have administrative support, so there is definitely enough room for both models.
You were in the inaugural FHM class. What did that recognition mean to you?
I saw it as validation of how we were starting to mature as a specialty and as recognition of a commitment to being a hospitalist, not just an internist. I never practiced outpatient medicine. I went straight from residency to hospitalist medicine. That’s how I identify myself, and I was happy to see that physicians specializing in hospital medicine were starting to get recognized.
What is your biggest professional reward?
The satisfaction from knowing you’re making a difference—not just by the care you provide one-on-one to your patients, but also knowing you’re contributing at a systems level or a population level because you’re making decisions and trying to redefine processes that actually could impact a much larger cohort.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
Trying to find enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done.
What is next for you professionally?
I enjoy having varied opportunities and being involved in many different aspects of operations. That’s what attracted me to a larger company such as Sound Physicians, and I see myself staying in that type of role. Down the road, I’d love to be able to take some of my knowledge to Nigeria and find a way to help develop and shape the healthcare sector back home.
Why would that mean so much to you?
It would be a chance to give back. We still have people dying from largely preventable diseases, and our healthcare system is not what it should be. We don’t have enough physicians for the population, and most of the physicians are in urban areas.
Close to half of the members of my graduating medical school class are either in the U.S., Europe, Asia, or South Africa.
That type of brain drain has a tremendous effect over several decades. That’s a lot of talent outside the country, and we need that back home.
Mark Leiser is a freelance writer in New Jersey.