How ABAM Certification Distinguishes Physician Leaders, According to Dr. William J. Farrell, MD, MBA
The combination of a business and medical background is vitally important to delivering high-quality care to patients. The medical background allows us to provide medical treatment that we learned in school for adequate diagnoses and treatment options. The business background allows us to learn and hone skills that were not presented in medical school or even residency. Such examples would be communication skills, marketing of adequate resources, and health policy information that would be ultimately beneficial for the overall care and treatment of our patients.
To lead any organization, a physician can learn knowledge, skills, and behaviors at the grassroots level with appropriate classes and instructors. What to me is most important is a physician leader or mentor who can provide one-on-one help and guidance. Many hospitals have introduced programs for physician leaders. Several of these programs are offered after hours, generally in 1-2-hour sessions for 3-6 months.
More and more, physician leaders are becoming chief executive officers of hospitals. Their combination of business acumen and medical training allows them to relate to their fellow physician colleagues in a very symbiotic fashion. They know from experience what works well with patient care and what may not work as well.
Board certification from the American Board of Administrative Medicine (ABAM), a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), has allowed me to foster the skills that I learned in my MBA program and better serve my patient population. By earning ABAM certification, physicians distinguish themselves as dedicated and talented medical practitioners who have completed a rigorous certification process. This group shares common interests with respect to hospital and medical group leadership. Furthermore, the annual ABPS meeting allows us to grow in leadership capabilities.
I would encourage all physician leaders with an MBA or an equivalent background to apply for ABAM certification. It will enhance your curriculum vitae as well as expand networking for future opportunities, and your cohort of Diplomates may also enrich your leadership knowledge and skills.