Monday, October 5, 2015

Do Non-Medicos make good Healthcare Administrators?

According to a survey done by Frost and Sullivan, the healthcare industry is expected to grow at a rate of 17-22% by the year 2020. This growth can be attributed to rise in incomes, easier access to high-quality healthcare facilities and greater awareness amongst the consumers. Simple derivations of the above facts lead us to the conclusion that there is a definitive increase in the demand. And, balancing this increase in the demand, the supply of the concerned product will also have to increase at the same pace. So, which means more Hospitals and more managers to manage these facilities. 

With the growth of the healthcare industry has come the simultaneous growth of  Hospital Administrators- “The New Age Influencer”. They are the leaders who often operate as the “face” or “first point of contact” for their organization. The big question here is who is a better administrator, a medico or a non-medico?

Health care administrators must always maintain professionalism in behavior and presence. They must be proficient at adjusting to new developments in technology, legal matters and policies. Apart from being flexible, creative, analytical and organized they should most importantly be able to effectively communicate with people at all professional levels, specialties and roles. An effective hospital manager should be aware of what is going on in their department or facility, and should have details of all employees’ daily responsibilities.

A bachelor’s degree in health administration is typically minimum requirement for entry level positions in healthcare administration. However, it is important to note that those who hold a bachelor’s degree might not be qualified for higher positions, and thus their chances for advancement could be limited. A master’s degree in healthcare administration is a more common educational path for those who wish to reach upper management, and can open doors to positions with much more responsibility.

Nowhere in the academic eligibility or personal trait requirement is it mandated that you require a healthcare degree to become an administrator. For me, it hence becomes a myth that “medicos make better administrator”. If I need to quote names for non-medicos who have succeeded more than their medico counterparts, the list will be endless.

According to Dr. S K Biswas, Academy of Hospital Administration (AHA), “I believe non-medicos can make better administrators because unlike doctors their minds are less occupied. Therefore, they are better performers. On the other hand, the skills of a doctor should not be wasted especially in developing countries where the doctor to patient ratio is already low. Moreover, most of the work health administrators do in administration doesn’t require medical knowledge.”

Summarizing the entire discussion, I would say, that it isn’t “what you were” but it is “what you are” and “what you will be” that matters!

- Ms. Ginny Kaushal
  Faculty, INLEAD 

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