Some say the best way to really understand how something works is to get inside and become a part of it. That’s what health care management students in Michael Zdychnec’s Ambulatory Care class at Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center campus did over the winter quarter. For 11 weeks, they interacted with some of the most innovative ambulatory care clinics throughout the Twin Cities, including Tria Orthopedics, Woodwinds Natural Care Center, and NeoPath Health. The students then used what they learned to develop, design, and present their own business idea for a new ambulatory care service.
The students acted as health care consultants in the class while they learned firsthand the challenges and opportunities in the growing ambulatory care market from these innovative health care organizations. Tria Orthopedics shared their strategic planning model with the students, Woodwinds discussed the opportunities presented by health care reform, and NeoPath emphasized the opportunities for start-ups in the new health care world.
The students were then “given” $1.5 million in start-up capital and challenged to create and present their own ambulatory care business plan based upon what they learned from these real-world instructors.
After completing more research and considering the needs of the market, the students created Portable Imaging and X-ray LLC (PIX). PIX was designed to improve access to imaging services in the Twin Cities market and was extremely attractive due to its high profit potential and a lack of existing competition in the marketplace.
“The whole idea of this course was to move the student from taking what you can learn in a textbook to creating an actual experience in the real world,” said Zdychnec. “Learning from the innovative thinkers already in the field and applying what you learn to your own project has tremendous impact.”
“This course provided me with an entirely new perspective of what it takes to start a new business in the health care industry, said health care management student Maria Young. “There is a whole new stress level you experience when you are forced to defend your idea to other that you are unaware of until you go through it, especially when you are spending someone else’s money.”
Throughout the 11 weeks, the students were able to fine-tune the skills health care employers are looking for in their workers today including the ability to lead projects, communicate well, work in groups, and critically think through a concept or idea. The health care industry will benefit from the ideas these students will bring to the market after they graduate. And who knows? Maybe PIX, LLC will become a reality someday.
A special thank you to Michael Zdychnec, health care management program chair at MSB’s Brooklyn Center and Elk River campuses as well as executive program chair, for writing this story!