The health care system’s growing complexity is increasing the need for practitioners to be familiar with business concepts. While many psychologists who work in hospitals and other institutional settings grapple with organizational and larger systemic issues on a daily basis, even those psychologists in solo independent practice find that they must deal with business issues such as budgeting, contracts, billing and marketing. For psychologists functioning in this complex environment, learning to speak the language of business can have a variety of benefits.
Communicate more effectively. Chances are you interact with a variety of business and financial people who affect your practice. When you deal with managed care representatives, accountants, hospital administrators, or practice consultants, having a firm grasp of business concepts and terminology will help you communicate your needs more clearly, give constructive feedback, and provide others with the information and resources they need. In turn, this will streamline your interactions, reduce the likelihood of conflicts and misunderstandings, and increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Understand and manage the business aspects of your practice. Even though you may turn to consultants for expert guidance or outsource some of your business functions, it may not be in your best interest to completely relinquish decision making about your practice to non-clinicians. Understanding the language of business will help you build and maintain a successful practice by integrating business data with the clinical, legal, and ethical aspects of your practice. This in turn allows you to make better decisions about your practice finances, staffing, marketing and business strategy.
Tap into new markets. Increasingly, psychologists are finding innovative ways to apply their expertise in human behavior outside of the traditional mental health realm. Branching out, whether by entering the business world via organizational consulting or executive coaching, or launching a new business venture requires psychologists to be well schooled in the language of business. Developing your business vocabulary can be the first step in starting to think like a businessperson and an entrepreneur.
Advance your career. At some point in your career, you may want to shift the nature of your work, take on additional administrative responsibilities or make contributions at a larger systemic level. Psychologists who have developed their business competencies are well suited to leadership positions such as heading up a department or facility, running a larger group practice or starting a new business.