Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
CEO Minute - July: Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (business-wise)

CEO Minute: Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (business-wise)

ceo minute

Each day the Wall Street Journal and industry articles admonish health care organizations (like hospitals and medical practices) to operate in a financially sound manner. This is particularly important in today's environment with its rapid-fire changes.


A medical student interested in the business of medicine is encouraging. Their medical education at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine prepares them to understand, diagnose and treat disease – as well as how to prevent it. Many seek additional education on the ends and outs of business. Some earn a dual degree, which may include both an M.D. and MBA. Some take an elective short course that TTUHSC President Tedd Mitchell, M.D., and I coordinate (together with two medical students) each academic year. Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to an MBA class (which included a number of medical students) at the Texas Tech University Rawls College of Business where I serve as an adjunct professor.


Think about it. When a person has the ability to consider both the medical and financial component (for an M.D. and MBA degree), it provides a unique opportunity to contribute to decision-making where both financial and clinical outcomes need to be considered. And circa 2017, for better or worse, the two are almost inseparable.


When I was learning to be an Emergency Medicine Technician years ago to help with Boy Scouts, we were taught the trusty Airway, Breathing and Circulation or ABCs method of resuscitation. Now, it’s the CAB method (compression, airway and breathing). I propose CAB works for some basic understanding of business.

C) Cash


Cash flow is critical. There’s a saying “Cash is King” and a business must generate enough cash to cover its obligations.

A) Assets


These are resources that are owned by a company and have future economic value that can be measured and can be expressed in dollars. Examples include cash, investments, accounts receivable, inventory, supplies, land, buildings, equipment and vehicles. Assets also are part of the accounting equation. Assets = Liabilities + Owner's (Stockholders') Equity.

B) Basic financial documents


• Income statement — presents the revenues, expenses and profits/losses generated during the reporting period.
• Balance sheet — presents the assets, liabilities and equity of the entity as of the reporting date.
• Statement of cash flows — presents the cash inflows and outflows that occurred during the reporting period.
• Statement of retained earnings — presents changes in equity during the reporting period.


This is a simple way of looking at the CABs of business. We can continue to grow in our business knowledge. Many employees (not just medical students) are studying, seeking degrees, and earning certifications and so forth to expand their business savvy. We all have to commit to lifetime learning. Change is happening too quickly to do otherwise.