Here’s What Your Career in Healthcare Consulting Could Look Like
As a healthcare administrator, you may at first think that your only career option is to work directly within a healthcare institution, such as a large regional hospital or rehabilitation center.However, this perception couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are a wide variety of fulfilling jobs that one can take with a degree in hospital administration that offer a degree of independence and entrepreneurship, rather than healthcare institutions themselves.
One such pathway is going into a career in healthcare consulting and management, which we’ll explore further in this article.
Why healthcare consultants matter
Think for a minute about the kinds of management tasks that hospitals need to accomplish. While they are ultimately responsible for patient health, they are also in many cases businesses that need to cover costs in a reasonable manner in order to survive and thrive.
Healthcare consultants assist in making this possible by doing work on a fee-for-service basis, as needed by the healthcare institution. They may be housed within a variety of types of organizations, such as consulting firms, healthcare management companies, healthcare supply or manufacturing companies, educational institutions, and more.
Many healthcare consultants come to their jobs with a strong background working within healthcare institutions. As such, they are uniquely poised to understand these institutions’ issues and concerns. They may also have a strong understanding of overall trends within the industry through having worked with multiple clients.
What does a healthcare consultant do?
Healthcare consultants may do a variety of activities throughout the course of their careers. Job tasks may also depend on level of seniority. However, some of the common tasks for such consultants include: speeches and presentations to hospital staff, writing and disseminating manuals, and researching ways to improve efficiency at all levels within a healthcare institution’s structure.
Increasingly, this means managing hiring policies and staffing costs, structuring staff career paths to focus on retention and better meet facility needs, as well as identifying opportunities to shift to virtual procedures and other lower cost methods of healthcare procedure delivery.
How do I know if I would make a good healthcare consultant?
While no one article or test could tell you whether or not you would be a good fit for a career in healthcare consulting, there are certain interests and aptitudes you might want to think about:
Do you enjoy big-picture thinking, as well as drilling down into specific problems? Both types of thinking are sometimes required of healthcare consultants, who may be called upon to offer strategies and solutions to a healthcare institution’s issues. Those challenges can range from building a more efficient patient discharge system to reducing the rate of personnel turnover.
Do you like to work with all kinds of people? As a consultant, whether you run your own team or work through an established company, you will likely play some role in interacting with clients. You’ll have to be comfortable relating your work to busy hospital executives and others who may not yet have a strong basis in your work.
Do you like to write? Many consulting contracts involve some sort of report or other written product that will be given to clients, so that they can return to your findings over and over again without having to pay for more work. Skill with expressing yourself through the written word could help you master a career in healthcare consulting.
Regardless of what draws your interest in healthcare consulting and management, there are many viable career pathways available in this area to explore.