Business Of Medicine In The Academic Plastic Surgery Community – A Survey Of American Council Of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) Members
Sumun Khetpal, MD, Sacha Hauc, BA, Joseph Lopez, MD, MBA, Adnan Prsic, MD
Yale University, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, New Haven, CT
Purpose: Business fundamentals, such as leadership, negotiations, and personal finance, remain as an overlooked component of residency education. It remains unclear how faculty members in academic plastic surgery particularly view the integration of a business curriculum within plastic surgery residency curriculum, and how one’s personal exposure to business concepts may impact their perception on the importance of learning such concepts in surgical training.
METHODS: A 15-question survey was distributed through the American College of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) members in order to assess how academic plastic surgeons perceived the importance of a business curriculum, and if applicable, how the formalized study of these concepts were incorporated within plastic surgery residency programs. Surgeons were also queried about barriers towards organizing and executing such a curriculum, and about the importance of certain topics for education. Likert scale, free text, and ranking-based formats were utilized for question templates.
RESULTS: 66 academic plastic surgeons, representing 31 institutions, completed the survey. 21 (32%) had formalized business teaching, whether through undergraduate or graduate-level coursework. 41 (62%) wished for more formalized instruction in business fundamentals during medical school or residency training. 40 (61%) agreed or strongly agreed that a business curriculum is a necessary component of resident education. Only 35% of surgeons believed that formalized curriculum was necessary for attaining leadership roles in academic practice (35%), while the majority (55%) found it valuable for entering private practice and in the hospital setting (51%). 29 (67%) wished that there were more resources available to teaching the business of medicine to residents. The most cited barriers towards building a business curriculum were “choosing relevant content” and “time.” Of all topics assessed, coding and billing was ranked as the most important component of a business curriculum, while instruction in commercialization and marketing ranked as the least important to academic plastic surgeons. Conclusion: This study elucidates how academic plastic surgeons and institutions perceive the education of business fundamentals during plastic surgery training. The majority of respondents found such teachings as valuable to the professional development of plastic surgery residents, yet our findings suggest limited resources allocated to these important concepts. Future efforts should incentivize plastic surgery programs to provide formal instruction within the business of medicine, and in doing so, position trainees for success in their careers.
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