MBA at Work: MBAs for the Healthcare Industry

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Healthcare-IndustryAs long as people live and breathe and the human race wants to continue doing that, there will be careers in healthcare. Regardless of economic drivers inextricably tied to ethics and politics, consumers demand healthcare. The careers are diverse, encompassing work directly with people and indirectly, with a projected 22% growth rate over the next decade. Consider MBA specializations for known and emerging careers.


Scope of work: Healthcare Administration or Management is a standard for the business end of this industry. No matter the size, healthcare facilities and systems need oversight professionals in management who know how to run operations and have a solid comprehension of medicine and healthcare. Your MBA with concentration in Health Administration enhances your understanding of the business of medicine, equipping you to run medical systems or facilities. Healthcare administrators are executives who plan, organize and direct healthcare delivery. You might run one clinical department or manage an entire hospital or community system. Your MBA with emphasis in Health Management prepares you for industry administration issues like health policy, legal issues, economics and program implementation.

Coursework: Review the public health, business or public administration schools of colleges and universities. Seek out MBA in Healthcare Administration programs that teach the healthcare perspective of organizational structure, law, accounting and financial management, information systems, marketing, and hospital administration. If you have a specialty area such as geriatric care or research and development, be sure your B-school offers relevant coursework and internships in those facilities.

Growth careers: With your MBA in Healthcare Management you have a better chance to start work at a management level in this industry. Understand however, that prior work experience in health or medicine is preferred, and often required. Focusing your MBA on health management can land you in hospitals, public and/or mental health clinics, long term care facilities, managed care systems and private medical offices. You might work in government entitlement, insurance or benefit programs and model systems. You can later earn C-suite roles as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), and Chief Medical Officer (CMO). On your way, you will use your healthcare MBA in roles like President, Vice President, Director, Manager, Program Manager, Medical Director, or Project Manager. You'll lead operations, medical affairs, nursing, revenue cycle management, pharmacy, government programs, clinical operations, provider relations, supply chain, public relations, sales/marketing, behavioral health, and human resources.


Scope of Work: Perhaps you have passion for information technology and want to work in healthcare but not one-on-one with patients. Hospitals, doctor's offices and other healthcare-related facilities use information technology to store and maintain medical and health information, manage health organizations, carry out strategy, control operations, and assist in decision-making. The field is growing. A relatively young sector is Medical Informatics. Statistically, medical informatics has increased 5-fold in the literature alone, since 1987, and areas like Computer-Assisted Diagnosis have markedly increased.

Coursework: Your MBA in Health Information Management program should provide studies in strategic uses of information affecting the customers, markets, and products of healthcare systems. Your MBA in Health Information Systems teaches you manage and use information systems and technology to identify an organization's information needs and employ systems to meet needs. Past systems supported the framework of medical practice and have led to a new generation of tools. These support physicians and other healthcare executives to manage education, decision making, communication, and professional activity. MBA courses include quantitative analysis and management decisions, statistics, hypothesis testing and forecasting. Medical Informatics is learning, processing and communicating information about medical practice, education and research, including support science and technologies. It is innately interdisciplinary, dealing with everything from fundamental research to planning and policy for medical infrastructure. Expect to study informatics theory and impact, health information systems, and new technologies as used to deliver healthcare.

Growth Careers: People with MBAs in Healthcare Informatics or Information Systems work in healthcare facilities, government agencies, vendor, insurance or pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms. Medical informatics units are increasing at medical schools, and medical informatics professionals are being sought to serve on faculties and hospital staffs. C-level roles for those with MBAs in Health Information Technology include Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and some opportunities as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Other executive opportunities span leadership of operations, quality and risk management, compliance, health IT or IS management, finance, analytics, revenue cycle management, configuration, informatics, government programs, business engineering, network development/contracting, infrastructure, supply chain, telemedicine, and human resources. Titles span Project / Program Manager, Director, Vice President and President in business and governmental entities or as Board, Faculty or Curriculum Developer in a university.


Scope of Work: As engineers develop new tools for surgery, treatment and healthcare management, medical technology advances rapidly. Tools and technology are broadly used in medical systems (artificial organs, cloning, prosthetic limbs, robotics, and communication systems from wireless monitors to conducting methods like pacemakers). This is largely due to the work of biomedical engineers. Biomedical engineering graduate programs are necessary. For those who intend to run the businesses that use these tools and technologies, another emerging degree concentration is the MBA in Biomedical Engineering.

Coursework: Because it's new, you may have to search a bit harder for a program that offers the MBA in Bioengineering. Many students find their target schools offering combined degrees, such as the MBA/MS in Bioengineering. Combination programs fuse the science and technology of biomedical engineering with the basics of health industry management like health policy, legal issues, economics and program implementation. These fusion degrees may lead to more focused MBA programs soon.

With your relevant bachelor's degree in a mathematical science, engineering or life science, plus a chemistry, calculus and biology you can enter B-school biomedical engineering programs. Seek out interdisciplinary programs incorporating research, medicine, dentistry, engineering, chemistry, and math. Courses in advanced molecular biology, physiology, biomedical materials, biomedical instrument development, biomechanics, and bioinformatics are popular. On the business side, courses should include internships in management of facilities advancing computer cardiology, biological imaging, biomedical engineering in clinical medicine, organ transport systems, and cell and tissue engineering.

Growth careers: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects biomedical engineers will increase 72% through 2018. Some will prefer to do the engineering. Others must manage programs and facilities where biomedical engineering happens. As an executive, your road could include positions as Project or Program Manager, Director, VP, or President of operations, patient care, case management, quality and risk management, compliance, pharmacy, instrumentation, and government programs. The top talent among MBAs with an emphasis on Biomedical Engineering may land roles as a CEO, COO, CCO, CNO or CMO.


For executive business careers in the healthcare industry applying your talent for administrative and high level supervisory duties, consider taking your MBA in Health Administration.

To reduce errors, costs, paperwork, and administrative inefficiency your MBA in Health Information Technology or Medical Informatics are the growing fields for executives.

Fast growing executive prospects in clinical operations, research, robotics and rehabilitative development are using MBAs in Biomedical Engineering or combined MBA/MS degrees.

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