Tag: healthcare



By any measure, the education required to become a doctor is daunting: a 4-year undergraduate degree, 4 years in medical school, and 3-7 years of residency. The business of medicine is so complex, however, that many MDs are taking their education one step further.

In 2013, both Sheyda Namazie-Kummer, MD, and Vamsi Narra, MD, enrolled in Olin’s Executive MBA program. The goal? Gain a holistic understanding of the practice of medicine by mastering the business of medicine.

Sheyda Namazie-Kummer, MD

In her role as Director of the Clinical Advisory Group at BJC HealthCare’s Center for Clinical Excellence, Namazie-Kummer must regularly navigate new policies from the US Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“There’s a mix of our integration of the clinical aspects of medicine and policy and the business aspects,” says Namazie-Kummer. “How do we deliver healthcare that is sustainable and high quality? Sustainability is critical for us.”

Narra, Professor of Radiology, Senior Vice Chair of Imaging Informatics and New Business Development, and Chief of Radiology at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, emphasized that understanding medicine as a business helps elevate its humanitarian goals: “As a physician, I am primarily trained in terms of taking care of patients, but having that business knowledge and being in the trenches, you see how you can contribute to the effort to get a better system in place.”

The business of medicine

Like any other business, medical practice requires a good understanding of where money goes and where it comes from. Narra said, “There is procurement and there are processes. You need to have a system to run the show (operations), quality and safety checks, a way to collect the revenue, and to negotiate contracts with the insurance payers or whoever else it may be.”

Vamsi Narra, MD

However, as a lifelong science student, Narra had not had much exposure to core business subjects like finance and accounting. Luckily, Olin’s EMBA program is rich with courses that explore the core aspects of business.

“Having an understanding of cost accounting gives me a sense of what to look into and what not. I don’t expect to be an expert in that area, because that’s not my area of expertise,” said Narra. “But when that is put in front of me, I can at least interpret those numbers and ask the questions so I can get more answers.”

Strategic planning and problem-solving

Namazie-Kummer expressed a similar appreciation for the EMBA’s breadth of studies. She saw the challenges in healthcare as business challenges—and wanted to learn how to tackle them.

“Broadening my understanding of the world of business and how the various aspects of strategic planning and operations come together, was just foundational in helping me better understand and appreciate some of the problems that we face in healthcare on a regular basis. Understanding the pieces has helped me effectively problem solve.”

Leadership development

For Namazie-Kummer and Narra, one of the most valuable aspects of the EMBA program was the focus on teamwork and effective management.

“You need to know every step of the way how to manage people,” says Narra. “Everyone is well meaning, but you have to figure out what the incentives are, how people react, what is human nature, and how can one become susceptible to the other kinds of information that is being thrown at them.”

When Narra talks to other MDs about pursuing the degree, he emphasizes the management aspect—and its additional time requirements. “For you to be an effective leader, you still need to maintain your core competencies. You still need to maintain your connection to your core team,” he said. “Even though I cut down on my clinical time, I still need to have my clinical time so I can understand the problems and challenges my teammates are facing. When you look at the situation overall, a physician leader actually has a lot busier schedule than a non-physician leader.”

Namazie-Kummer says the ability to manage and solve problems as a team, leveraging each member’s strengths, is critical to healthcare: “We can’t solve problems in medicine without operating as multi-disciplinary groups of people—not just doctors.”

Why MDs should consider an Executive MBA

Namazie-Kummer advises other MDs to keep an open mind about the EMBA if they decide to do it. “You can apply the skills you learn through an EMBA in so many different respects—you don’t have to just focus on something like finance. Remember that there are leadership skills and interpersonal interactions and group dynamics and strategy and so many other pieces that are as important as any one economic concept.”

“I realized as we finished the MBA,” Narra said, “that there’s not a single course that I did not find useful.”


One of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry is reducing operating costs, and one area of opportunity for cost savings is through the supply chain. Jean-Claude Saghbini, Chief Technology Officer at Wolters Kluwer Health (and formerly of Cardinal Health), spoke with The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation about some of the recent advancements in healthcare technology that have recently been driving efficiency and reducing waste.

bcsci-saghbini

Jean-Claude Saghbini

Saghbini claims that high value medical devices, or physician preference items, are responsible for quite a bit of waste (up to 30%, or $5 billion) on an annual basis. One method of streamlining and increasing visibility of inventory for high value items such as these is through the use of RFID, or radio frequency identification. An application of RFID that has been particularly successful at driving efficiency is the development of “smart shelves” that know exactly what’s inside a medical device cabinet, and can automatically trigger a reorder at a set inventory level.

Another technology that has increased supply chain efficiency is the access to networks that can aggregate data for various purposes (e.g., sharing information with suppliers, running analytics, etc.). The analysis of data, according to Saghbini, has been very helpful in providing better insight into utilization of medical equipment within hospitals and throughout healthcare networks.


For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

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The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

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SAN JOSE, CALIF.  – The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) today bestowed the fifth annual AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award to former Beckman Coulter CEO and Chairman John P. “Jack” Wareham, for his contributions to improving patient care and health care system efficiency through innovation of clinical laboratory testing.

Jack Wareham

“Jack is one of the unsung heroes of modern medical practice,” said Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of AdvaMed. “His work at Beckman Coulter helped pioneer automation in the clinical laboratory and transformed the diagnostic industry as a result. Millions of people every year benefit from his vision of more accurate and efficient clinical testing, and we are honored to present Jack this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.”Wareham began his career in the life sciences after earning a bachelor’s of science degree in pharmacy from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He worked as a pharmacist while earning an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and worked his way through the ranks of the pharmaceutical company, Smith, Kline and French.

SmithKline acquired laboratory instruments company Beckman Instruments in 1981 in a $1 billion deal. Beginning in 1984, Wareham held several senior management positions in the new division. In 1993, he was named president and COO of Beckman Instruments, which was spun off as a separate, public company in 1989.

As COO, he was the driving force behind the successful merger in 1997 of Beckman Instruments with Coulter Corporation, the leading manufacturer of systems for blood and other cell analysis. In 1998, he was named CEO of the newly formed Beckman Coulter.

Today Beckman Coulter is recognized as a powerhouse in the diagnostics industry, developing and marketing instruments, chemistries, software and supplies to simplify and automate laboratory operations, and ultimately save patient’s lives.

After retiring from Beckman Coulter in 2005, Wareham has continued to share his vision and business expertise, helping to guide a number of diverse enterprises as a director for medtech companies including Steris, ResMed, Accuray and Greatbatch

Wareham also served as chairman of the Board for AdvaMed in 2000, helping lead the association in a new direction for the 21st Century as it rebranded from the Health Industry Manufacturer’s Association.

“I am proud to be honored by my peers with this incredible award,” said Wareham, “and I gratefully accept on behalf of all the wonderful people I’ve worked with over the years who are dedicated to improving patient care.”

AdvaMed’s Lifetime Achievement Award highlights the accomplishments of pioneers in the medical technology sector whose contributions have had a significant impact on patients’ lives and the industry as an essential part of America’s economy. The award was presented during The MedTech Conference powered by AdvaMed at the San Jose Convention Center.

AdvaMed member companies produce the medical devices, diagnostic products and health information systems that are transforming health care through earlier disease detection, less invasive procedures and more effective treatments. AdvaMed members range from the largest to the smallest medical technology innovators and companies.




Alumni in the news

Army veteran Katie Buehner, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot, has found a new and rewarding career path in the medical profession. Buehner’s professional and personal journey from serving in the Army to creating a new business venture has recently been featured in both The Denver Business Journal and The National Business Journal.

Buehner’s accomplishments cross the educational, military and healthcare sectors.  An alumnus of Olin’s Executive MBA program (EMBA), Buehner served ten years in the Army as a Black Hawk pilot. Her husband is a fellow army aviator and she did not originally intend on leaving the Army, but family responsibilities took priority. With three kids ranging from ages one to four, a pending assignment to Germany for six months provided a milestone moment for Buehner. She chose to care for her young children stateside, and in so doing, that pivotal moment opened the door for a career-changing opportunity, earning her MBA degree via WashU’s EMBA program.

While at WashU, Buehner took advantage of the rich business school network by meeting and eventually partnering with fellow classmate, John Spranger and his wife Erin. The team focused on the need for staffing nurses to local medical offices, clinics and hospitals. Meeting demand for nursing supply, their company, Presto Staffing, benefits both its clients and its talent. By permitting flexible scheduling, the firm naturally draws nurses who search for alternative schedules to help their work-life balance, while also serving a growing healthcare industry.

Notably, with a revenue of $260,000 since opening in July 2016, Presto Staffing had a 150 percent growth rate, between September and December of that same year.  A May 2017 EMBA graduate, Buehner applies her “operational background” to a role that also allows her to manage her own flexible schedule while focusing on essential time with her family.

Buehener credits her journey through EMBA with connecting her to the business realm, pointing out that the “classes are… comprised of experienced professionals.”  Through molding her in-depth military operations experience with her acquired real-world business knowledge and connections at WashU, Buehner is looking forward to the next chapter of her joint venture.

For more coverage of Buehner’s career, please click here (note: full article is available for National Business Journal’s subscribers only).

For more on the WashU Executive MBA program, please visit our website.




Alumni in the news

Retired US Air Force veteran Don Halpin, a 2016 graduate of Olin’s Executive MBA program, is the Healthcare Systems Engineer at the Jump Simulation Lab at OSF Innovations in Peoria, IL. He is responsible for supporting socio-technical innovation projects. In this role, he develops new technologies and processes – particularly the incorporation of aviation safety tools into the healthcare arena. Halpin’s second career at “Jump” was recently featured in The Edwardsville Intelligencer.

Don Halpin is a graduate of the USAF Academy with a BS in Electrical Engineering (computer design focus) and a MS in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University.

Halpin employs forward-thinking best-practices from his 28 years in the Air Force. His final assignment was as the Director of Safety for Air Mobility Command where he was responsible for the flight and ground safety of its 55,000 person operation. He was an airlift and air refueling pilot, capability planner, political-military affairs officer, squadron and wing commander.  Now, he’s applying his knowledge of mobility operations to the medical sector at Jump Simulation, also known as Jump, for short.

Jump, which opened in April 2013, is a collaboration between OSF Healthcare and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, and aims to improve the experience of medical practitioners and patients through education and simulation initiatives. One such initiative includes printing 3-D hearts for cardiovascular surgeons to employ before surgery, an example of the high-tech atmosphere at the innovative company.

Halpin credits his strong family support system and Olin’s Executive MBA program as assets to his work at Jump, where he started working following his retirement from the Air Force. He was actively engaged in the EMBA curriculum, graduating with honors, while also fully engaged in the important work at Jump. Managing work, family and EMBA is a challenging yet rewarding experience for Executive MBA students.

With healthcare positioned as one of world’s most relevant and global industries, Halpin practices the EMBA pledge to take “business knowledge and translate concepts into real world applications,” on a daily basis.

To read more about Halpin’s work, please see the news article from The Edwardsville Intelligencer here.


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