Online Healthcare MBA Program
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Online Healthcare MBA

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5 Ways Your Healthcare M.B.A. Sets You Apart from Other Healthcare Professionals

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that healthcare practitioners and healthcare support occupations will be the two fastest growing occupations between 2014 and 2024, adding a combined 2.3 million jobs to the American economy. Employment in healthcare management occupations is projected to increase by 5.5 percent, adding 505,400 new jobs between 2014 and 2024. As the healthcare industry grows, a record number of students will enter the workforce. First-year medical school enrollment has been steadily increasing since 2003 and reached an all-time high of 20,630 students enrolled in 2015.

A 2016 Harvard Business School report shows that the number of combined M.D./M.B.A. programs has doubled since 2000. The study also indicates that many graduates who earn an M.D. decide to earn an M.B.A., either simultaneously or after entering the healthcare profession. These trends indicate an increased demand and availability for continued healthcare education.

As more healthcare professionals graduate from M.B.A. programs, a healthcare M.B.A. degree becomes more essential for those who wish to remain competitive. Professionals already in the industry can couple work experience with a healthcare M.B.A. to provide an edge over graduates of traditional M.B.A programs. The online Healthcare M.B.A. from the George Washington University, for instance, offers a more targeted education through combining core business curriculum with healthcare-specialized courses taught by faculty with healthcare backgrounds.

The rise of the healthcare M.B.A. reflects the industry’s evolution. As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, more people will rely on Medicare and Medicaid than in previous years, and the healthcare industry may struggle to meet this increased demand. The industry must also incorporate changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and technological advancements, such as an increased use of 3D printing and biometric devices. To gain the necessary skills to manage the increased demand, policy changes and technological advancements, a healthcare M.B.A can help.

healthcare career advancement

The Difference Between a Healthcare M.B.A and a Traditional M.B.A.

A healthcare-focused M.B.A. offers a competitive edge over other M.B.A. grads vying for the same jobs in the healthcare industry. Whereas a typical M.B.A. program provides general business education, a healthcare M.B.A. prepares students with a business foundation that relates specifically to current and future healthcare environments. Such programs help graduates implement healthcare policies and use data and statistics to improve healthcare delivery within their organization.

A healthcare M.B.A. teaches the financial, analytical, crisis management and leadership skills professionals rely on in order to excel in their careers.

Healthcare Trends That Support Earning a Healthcare M.B.A.

Current healthcare trends indicate a greater need for professionals with the skills and background that a healthcare M.B.A. can provide.

Illness Trends
Recently, the number of diseases that can spread quickly has increased rapidly. This has led to sharp rises in hospitalizations over a short period. E. coli and whooping cough are two examples. Although vaccinations have drastically reduced the incidences of whooping cough, documented cases have risen 146 percent in the past 10 years. Within the same 10-year period, E. coli cases have increased by 472 percent. A sudden spike in E. coli, whooping cough or another fast-spreading and potentially deadly disease would strain hospital resources.

Patterns of illness change over time. Once illness trends are identified, hospitals and healthcare facilities can prepare with the appropriate personnel and diagnostic resources. Hospital executives rely on the financial, emergency management and analytical skills that can be learned from a healthcare M.B.A. program to assign resources, manage increased costs and maintain morale during such a time.

Technology trends
As new technologies, such as 3D printing, wearable biometric devices, and GPS tracking, are tested and introduced for clinical use, there will be a greater need for technical management staff to implement, track and manage these installations. For example, a hospital CFO must budget for the technology expense as well as the staffing needed to man new technologies. A CIO may be in charge of installing, maintaining and training staff on the new technology.

The CIO and CFO share some responsibility in tracking and evaluating ROI on new technology implementations. Tracking ROI includes tasks such as benchmarking, analyzing workflow improvement, determining cost impacts and reviewing the impact on employee retention and business growth.

A healthcare M.B.A. prepares graduates with the necessary leadership and analytics skills to excel in these positions.

Patient trends
By 2029, 61.3 million baby boomers are expected to qualify for Medicare. An increased demand on our healthcare system naturally creates a greater need for healthcare workers to manage all aspects of patient care, including the cost increase associated with treating more patients. A healthcare M.B.A. can prepare you for careers that handle Medicare and Medicaid policy among other things, such as an administrator for a hospital, physician’s group, insurance company or public health facility.

Provider trends
A largescale analysis of Harvard Business School’s physician graduates indicates substantial growth in the number of physicians pursuing M.B.A. degrees in the last decade. This growth may result in more providers opening private practices and more administrators in the healthcare industry, which could increase competition for high-level healthcare administrators and executives. A healthcare-focused M.B.A. degree combines healthcare-centered education and gives graduates greater income earning potential. According to analysis by The New York Times, the average salary for a hospital administrator is $237,000 compared to the average clinical physician salary of $185,000.

Potential policy changes
Minor changes to healthcare come with every new U.S. presidency. Although it is difficult to predict new policy changes, hospital administrators should be prepared to manage and help implement new policies. Healthcare administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of their facility, including hospitals, clinics and public health agencies. As part of their job, healthcare administrators must act as liaisons between governing boards and medical staff. The BLS anticipates that health service management careers, including healthcare administrators, will grow 17 percent between 2014 and 2024, and employers often expect these candidates to have an M.B.A.

5 Skills Acquired in a Healthcare M.B.A. Program Can Advance Your Career

While gaining general business knowledge in the topics of finance, analytics, marketing and leadership, healthcare M.B.A. programs emphasize on applying business concepts to case studies and scenarios from healthcare environments. Students interested in careers such as hospital CEO, medical facility CFO or healthcare analytics manager can benefit from the following skills:

1. Advanced Financial Skills
In a hospital, financial management may mean ordering diagnostic machines or assigning staffing loads for busy periods. On a larger scale, it may involve multiple healthcare organizations working together to create modeling tools that estimate insurance premiums and administrative costs or analyzing the details of a merger/acquisition proposal. In any area of financial management, a healthcare M.B.A. can help students hone financial management skills while understanding how both small- and larger-scale financial decisions affect patients, organizations and the industry.

Core courses in the George Washington University Healthcare M.B.A. program include Finance, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting and Microeconomics for the World Economy. In these courses, students examine elements of financial analysis, investing, capital planning and budgeting, dividend policy and working capital management. These financial skills prepare graduates for various roles, including hospital CEO or CFO, hospital accountant, healthcare finance manager or any career involving financial evaluation or planning within the healthcare industry.

2. Emergency Preparedness Skills

Healthcare professionals must be prepared for anything. A disease outbreak, such as Ebola or avian flu, could emerge at any time, having an impact on every area of healthcare from technology to finance. Efficient organizational leaders will prioritize training, planning and preparation for inevitable emergencies. This preparation may include communicating clearly and managing employee morale and company reputation.

The George Washington University Healthcare M.B.A. program offers courses that specialize in the unique challenges that come with health management, such as Managing Human Capital and Strategic Management and Organizations. This specialized education helps develop leaders who remain calm and confident under pressure in order to make informed and logical decisions. Through these and like courses, students learn leadership, cultural awareness, critical thinking, analysis and intellectual creativity.

The crisis management skills taught in the George Washington University Healthcare M.B.A. program prepares students for roles such as hospital CEO or hospital emergency preparedness manager; these positions are responsible for ensuring that hospital staff and other resources are prepared for any emergencies, anticipated or otherwise.

3. Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills
Analytical thinking helps healthcare professionals determine the best possible solution to the complex problems they face in the workplace. Healthcare M.B.A. programs offer analytical thinking instruction, providing students with argumentative structure and evaluation. Simulating a real-world environment, students analyze a hypothetical situation, find solutions, argue their case and gain approval. Analytical thinking skills take time to master, but are essential to success in healthcare.
A student enrolled in a healthcare M.B.A. program can expect analytical thinking skills to be addressed in many classes, including Health Care Quality Analysis, Strategic Management and Decision Making and Data Analysis. These courses are designed to help students successfully complete analytical projects with multiple objectives and multiple stakeholders.

The analytical skills learned through healthcare M.B.A. coursework prepare students for various roles such as consultant, healthcare analytics manager and business intelligence analyst. In both careers, professionals are required to gather and analyze data to evaluate trends and solve problems.

4. Leadership skills
As the healthcare industry evolves with rules and regulation changes, a new generation of healthcare workers emerges. Effective leadership is vital to maintain professional success in the face of consistent change. Great leaders motivate and inspire their teams to go above and beyond their roles and expectations. Regardless of whether your position is in direct patient care or an administrative role, leadership can have an impact on how healthcare professionals treat and care for patients.

The George Washington University Healthcare M.B.A. program teaches leadership in many of its courses, including Building a Quality Culture, Organizations & Managing Human Capital and Strategic Management. Courses like these are designed to help students lead their team and other key players towards a common goal. The analytical skills learned through healthcare M.B.A. coursework prepare students to lead in any healthcare role, including executive or administrative roles.

5. Ethical decision-making skills
A healthcare M.B.A. program gives students an overview of the political, legal, social, economic and ethical forces that act upon a business – locally and globally. When graduates enter the workforce, they understand the market system and the public policy process that develops the laws and regulations of healthcare. With this solid foundation, students are equipped to make ethical decisions in any healthcare position.

A student enrolled in a healthcare M.B.A. program can expect ethical decisionmaking skills to be addressed in classes such as Health Info Quality and Outcomes, Introduction to Global Regulatory Affairs, and Business Ethics & Public Policy.

How to Remain Competitive with a Healthcare M.B.A.

Once you are equipped with the necessary skills to excel in healthcare, your career outlook and earning potential can increase drastically. As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement, we anticipate an increase in job opportunities in order to meet this increased demand. Although this may seem like good news for healthcare professionals, record numbers of M.B.A. graduates are expected to enter the healthcare field over this same timeframe. In order to remain competitive, professionals should consider advancing their education with a healthcare M.B.A. Healthcare M.B.A. coursework prepares students with the financial, managerial and analytical skills needed to excel in a leadership role. Graduates may take on careers as C-level hospital executives, division operational managers, computer and information systems managers or healthcare analytics managers.

Learn more about how to advance your career and remain competitive in the workforce with the Online Healthcare M.B.A from the George Washington University.

Sources:
https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/occupational-employment-projections-to-2024.htm
https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/newsreleases/446400/applicant-and-enrollment-data.html
http://business.gwu.edu/current-students-2/MBA-programs-and-concentrations/healthcareMBAdegree-requirements/
https://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1141.pdf
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/sunday-review/doctors-salaries-are-not-thebigcost.html?_r=0
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6
http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2002/JustHowManyBabyBoomersAreThere