Larry Zielinski is an expert on the business and economics of health care, health care delivery and innovation. He serves as the Executuve in Residence, Health Care Administration, in the School of Management.
I am in charge of developing the health care administration program in the School of Management, and am pleased to represent Management in this important initiative.
I spent over 25 years working in large health systems in Western New York, across the delivery network. I learned early in my career that you cannot accomplish anything in health care without the leadership, input, buy-in, and support of the clinical and support teams. There has been a great deal of emphasis on physician integration by health systems, and that is wholly appropriate—but it is not enough. The other members of the team—nurses, pharmacists, social workers, nutritionists, therapists, aides, support staff—all have to be engaged and supportive for any innovative quality and/or efficiency initiative to take hold. I leaned on health care lawyers constantly to guide me through the regulatory maze and complex business relationships. With any new technology and process improvement, both biomedical and industrial engineers are a critical part of the team. And now with value-based population models becoming more prevalent, the role of public health experts has never been more important. Health care is a team sport, and the gains we make will take hold only by engaging all members of the team.
Under Dr. Ohtake’s leadership, we have made tremendous strides in a very short period of time. She knows, and I agree, that this is just the beginning. IPE needs to be fully integrated into the classroom and clinical experiences of all of our health science, law, engineering, and management students. With our new capabilities for on-line learning, we should be able to figure a way around the logistical problems. I would like to see faculty team-teach courses. Interdisciplinary case studies—like the terrific “Meet Fred” video—need to be a standard part of our health care and management curriculum. We need to have interactive health care teams routinely engaged in the new simulation centers in the new Medical School. And we need to carry that culture into the health systems where our students train.
Nothing will prepare a Management student for a career in health care better than understanding the importance of high quality, clinical excellence, and how clinical people think. Financial performance is critical in health care, but we can never lose sight of why we are working in health care to begin with: to provide excellent, patient-centered care to people, no matter what their background, economic standing, or insurance coverage. Provide that, and the numbers generally take care of themselves. IPE experiences will set the stage for that critical understanding.
We are also very fortunate to have 40% of our MBA class consist of dual-degree students, with most of those coming from the health science schools. These health care students add a richness to the dialogue in our courses, and at the same time learn how important leadership, finance, analytics, information systems, and organizational behavior are to successful health care companies. They bring that perspective with them to our IPE endeavors.