The problems facing healthcare seem obvious. There are quickly shifting demographics changing the nature of care — a greater mix of cultures and potential associated issues, many more aging people, and millions being brought into the healthcare system for the first time. Regulatory requirements and new laws affect care insurance, including the nature of coverage and who can (and must) have it. Financial pressures affect patients and providers alike.
Smart management is necessary to meet the challenges. But an additional complication organizations face is the necessary rise of the healthcare professional manager and leader. Success in dealing with change will require new ways to engage medical professionals in new types of duties.
The tension between those who do and those who management has long been recognized in corporate management. Decades ago, some companies began a two-track approach to career development. Employees could go through the traditional movement into management, eventually to run groups, divisions, and entire functions. Or they instead could focus on being individual contributors. That often was a good alternative for employees with advanced technical or analytic skills and specialized knowledge. Not everyone wants to manage employees, and the lack of alternatives who want a vibrant career can force them out of a given company.
However, there is an opposite movement in the healthcare industry. Rather than defining a dual track approach, which effectively had been policy at many organizations, the industry is moving toward the need of a greater amount of integration.
Europe has been finding the need for clinical leadership that is a cross between a physician and a manager. One reason is because clinical and organizational practices have become increasingly intertwined. Practitioners cannot go off and do as they wish, possibly after getting clearance from someone at an insurance company. Best practices are increasingly being set organization-wide, with billing and administration requirements an element of daily experience.
In addition, physicians frequently sell their practices to join a larger group that, in turn, may be associated with a hospital system. The underlying nature of care delivery has changed and all these doctors who were once worked for themselves now have bosses. Such a shift requires the need of someone who can help harness the formerly independent physicians and help them work within the greater framework.
Success will need managers who understand the drivers and pressures the physicians face, people the practitioners will respect. That will need people with similar experiences who can build bridges between the old and new ways of working.
Are you interested in finding a rewarding and lucrative healthcare career that fits your individual strengths and interests? Find out how education can help you adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of healthcare management degrees, including an MBA Healthcare and Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics.