Offbeat... healthcare management Education

More than just a cure

The healthcare sector has undergone a massive transformation over the last decade. Public and private expenditure have increased and progressive healthcare and patient-centric treatment approach have become a reality. Technology has brought home advanced diagnostics, high-quality devices at low cost, and more efficient life-support systems. Modern healthcare focuses not just on cure but on the whole gamut of the experience. From approachable healthcare workers and state-of-the-art infrastructure to digital health tools and hospital ambiance, patients expect quality service and the industry has had to step up to meet these demands. As a result, the need for specialised management professionals has increased manifold.

What do healthcare managers do?

With the COVID-19 crisis sweeping the globe, there has been a greater need for healthcare managers. They handle the business side of healthcare delivery, through scheduling, budgeting, and look for ways to improve patient care. It is the perfect option for people who want to use their communication and organisational skills while making a difference.

Most people with a degree in healthcare management find a job in a hospital or an outpatient setting. Smaller clinics allow healthcare managers to oversee several disciplines, from marketing and budgeting to human resources and record management. Larger hospitals, on the other hand, offer more diverse opportunities. There is also the option of working in residential care and nursing facilities, where apart from business and administrative responsibilities, you also get a chance to maintain relationships with patients and their families. You can also work for the state or central government by doing research, addressing pressing public health problems, or even overseeing health education and awareness programmes.

The course

Some subjects — healthcare quality improvement, healthcare marketing, basics of managed care, healthcare ethics and law, and project management — are common to healthcare management courses in universities across the world. You also get practical experience and scenario-based simulations to prepare you to lead a team of healthcare workers.

Prospects

Apart from technical skills, a professional healthcare administrator will need soft skills too. Not only will you be in charge of a team of healthcare professionals, but will also work closely with the physicians apart from being the organisation’s representatives at meetings. You will have to stay abreast of latest changes, have superior communication skills, and have skills to manage facilities, plan and solve problems.

The field of healthcare is evolving, and one no longer needs to be on the frontlines for a successful career. Healthcare management professionals can expand towards lucrative roles with more responsibilities; from overseeing the hospital’s health information system to working as a top cadre professional in the organisation. Some senior-level positions may require a master’s degree but, at the end of the day, it is what you make of the degree that determines your prospects.

The writer is Associate Professor and Chair, Marketing & Communications, IIHMR Jaipur

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 2:30:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/more-than-just-a-cure/article31989972.ece

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