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Healthcare management & research: Opportunities and essential skills

Dr. Sanjiv Kumar & Dr. Sumesh Kumar
Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The time has gone when a doctor used to manage the hospital and OPD both. Now this is the era of multispecialty hospitals where doctors are very busy with clinical work and neither have times nor skills to take care of management of hospital. Doctors should concentrate on their core skills and the management should be taken care of by hospital managers. Hospital managers go through complexities of day to day working and strategic decision making in the hospital. The demand for professional managers is high in the other healthcare institutions. They can take care of management aspects that will help doctors focus in clinical work and create conducive environment for them.

Healthcare is among the fastest growing sectors of Indian economy today. It comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. About 80 per cent of the healthcare sector, however, comprises hospital industry and private sector’s share in hospitals is estimated at 74 per cent.

The factors that have contributed to the healthcare sector’s accelerated growth include conducive government policies such as allowing FDI and tax benefits, greater health awareness, rising incomes, lifestyle diseases, medical tourism, and increasing access to insurance.  

According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), a trust set up by the Government of India’s commerce department, the overall Indian healthcare market is worth around US$ 100 billion and is expected to grow to US$ 280 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9 per cent.

Similarly, the Indian medical tourism is expected to reach US$ 6 billion by 2018, and the healthcare information technology (IT) market is estimated to grow 1.5 times by 2020, from the current US$ 1 billion.

One of the inferences that can be drawn from the data mentioned above is that the healthcare industry promises to give a big boost to employment opportunities in the coming years. And one of the important areas where these jobs are going to be created is healthcare management.

Several business houses have made big investments in the healthcare sector, and this has made it absolutely necessary for the healthcare delivery system to function in a professional, organised, and efficient manner. Therefore, there is an urgent need for not only trained doctors and nurses, but also qualified healthcare and hospital managers to handle these challenges.

There is a dire need to train the managers with appropriate skills. International Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) Delhi is continuously striving towards excellence. The diploma at IIHMR is accredited by National Board of Accreditation that makes it equivalent to MBA. It has given the Six Sigma Healthcare Excellence Award as a best healthcare management institute of the year in December 2015.Let us discuss the skills that are in focus in the preparation of healthcare managers at IIHMR Delhi.

Interpersonal skills
The ability to interact well with the staff and clients is very important for a professional and healthcare professionals are not exception of it. This is the prerequisite of success of any professionals. Some people believe that these skills are innate but the reality is that with proper training and practice these skills can also be developed.

Leadership skills

These skills include the ability to delegate authority, motivate others and communicate effectively. These skills help the managers to take thoughtful decisions and in meeting the deadlines.

Analytical skills
These skills enable a professional to collect, scrutinize and analyze the information effectively. These skills are very much required in efficient decision-making. Students are engaged in research projects and given research based assignments and dissertation.

Goal setting skills
Appropriate goal setting is very important for a professional. Prior to goal setting all the resources must be analyzed and then goals should be set accordingly. The success of the manager also depends on the extent of goals he achieves.

Entrepreneurial skills
The ability to take initiatives, grab for new opportunities, risk taking abilities and decision making in the uncertain situations are the key skills for a successful managers.   

In the current scenario, the scope of healthcare industry is tremendously widening and bringing in a large pool of opportunities in terms of employment. Besides, the doctors and other paramedical staff, the healthcare industry today looks forward to qualified and specialized healthcare management professionals who can handle the administrative and the management needs well.

Job profiles
The job profiles offered to healthcare management professionals basically involve management of the internal affairs of the hospital or medical institution. Being a professional in health care management, you also have to deal with critical management problems encountered by hospitals and other healthcare agencies and respond favorably to such adverse situations. Usually, these candidates are placed in community hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, outpatient clinics, and hospices with flexible work timings.

Some of the other job roles that a person can get placed on, upon pursuing post graduation in healthcare management are as a hospital administrator, healthcare finance manager, medical director, HR recruiter, blood bank administrator, and pharmaceutical project manager, etc.

Benefits of pursuing PG in healthcare management
The postgraduate (PG) courses in healthcare management, are nowadays gaining a lot of recognition among students owing to its many benefits and the widening scope. Some of the major benefits that these programs bring in for the students are:
•    Training and certification open up career opportunities in diverse healthcare segments such as bio-pharmaceutical organizations, health insurance organizations, clinical research organizations, government sectors, financial organizations, NGOs, and many others.
•    There is a high level of work satisfaction and remuneration in this industry. Also, you have the flexibility to work at varying locations, either in the non-urban communities or metropolitan cities.
•    Students gain practical knowledge about the nuances of what all is required to administer the healthcare facilities from a domestic as well as global perspective.

Today, the healthcare industry has identified and realized the importance of management professionals and specialized administration staff for improving medical infrastructure and healthcare facilities. The trained professional develops diverse knowledge and understanding to holistic management of health and hospital services. They are sought after by government as well as the private or corporate sector.

(Authors are with IIHMR, New Delhi)


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