Transition from Resident to Attending

Get up to speed on medicine’s business side before clerkship

Timothy M. Smith , Contributing News Writer

Medical schools prepare future physicians in countless facets of clinical medicine, but graduating medical students very often go on to residency with little knowledge of a domain that is also critical to long-term success in practice: the business of medicine.

“There’s a real lack of understanding of the types of institutions, from university-based to community-based, and why someone might be attracted to one practice setting over another,” said Jessica Jones, director of member products at the AMA.

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Developed as part of the AMA UME Curricular Enrichment Program, the “AMA Navigating Practice Learning Series” helps medical students learn about nonclinical practice basics, discover differences in practice settings and learn how components of health care businesses work together to elevate quality of care. Subscribing medical schools have access to this series, complete with a series certificate, and educators can assign courses and track medical student progress. This series is also available on AMA Ed Hub™ for AMA members.

“Educating medical students about the everyday side of practice prepares them for clerkship and beyond,” Jones said. “By showing what it's like inside the various practice settings and how an interdisciplinary team works together, this series demystifies life on the floor to help medical students consider what type of practice is best for them.”

The five modules provide foundational knowledge on how health care practices operate, including how various areas within a health care organization—general management, operations, human resources, finance, information technology, risk management and marketing—contribute to the practice’s success.

Medical students can earn a curriculum certificate if they complete all five courses below in the “AMA Navigating Practice Learning Series.”

Nonclinical aspects of an organization play critical roles in the success of health care practices. This course helps learners define the various areas of health care practice management and identify how practice management differs across settings.

Identify the performance metrics that contribute to the success of medical practices, recognize how each area of practice management contributes to the successful practice of medicine and patient care, and understand how clerkship gives insight into the core areas of practice management.

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This course helps learners understand the considerations of appointment scheduling and how appointment scheduling affects a practice, strategies for organizing and analyzing patient data, the role medical billing plays in practice management, and the fundamentals of practice performance reporting.

Learn to define medical coding and billing and how they intersect, as well as to explicate regulatory guidelines that inform accurate billing, define payer types and common terms, understand the importance of coding accuracy, and understand the revenue cycle and its role in access to care.

This course outlines the functions of management and administration, the impact of staff analysis and scheduling on patient care and practice management, the role of patient communication and how patient flow affects patient care and outcomes.

“The series gives medical students valuable insight before they start clerkship and the residency application process,” Jones said.

A follow-up series, the “AMA Road to Residency Guide,” covers the major stages of the application process: understanding accreditation, research and preparation, applications and interviews, and the Match.

It takes astute clinical judgment as well as a commitment to collaboration and solving challenging problems to succeed in independent settings that are often fluid, and the AMA offers the resources and support physicians need to both start and sustain success in private practice.

Find out more about the AMA Private Practice Physicians Section, which seeks to preserve the freedom, independence and integrity of private practice.