Practical Negotiation for Medical Professionals

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Despite incredible advances in medical innovation and education, many students finish medical school, and physicians finish residency, without sound business acumen regarding the financial realities of the modern profession. The curriculum in medical schools and residency programs too often neglects teaching the business of medicine. This overview addresses how physicians can utilize effective negotiation strategies to help develop a medical practice or add value to an existing practice or institution. The authors applied the six foundations of effective negotiating, detailed by Richard Shell in his Bargaining for Advantage, to the medical field to demonstrate the processes involved in effective negotiating. They then outlined a strategy for physicians to adopt when negotiating and showed how this strategy can be used to add value. The six foundations include: developing a personal bargaining style, setting realistic goals, determining authoritative standards, establishing relationships, exploring the other party's interests, and gaining leverage. As physicians complete training, the ability to solely focus on medical knowledge and clinical patient care disappears. It is crucial that physicians invest the time and energy into preparing for the business aspects of this profession in much the same way they prepare for the clinical care of patients. This overview seeks to define the basics of negotiation, characterize the application of negotiation principles toward clinical medicine, and lay the foundation for further discussion and investigation.

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