Medical professionals have had to become more and more aware of the business side of their jobs as hospitals become more complex entities - Contributed
Amitabh Sharma, Features Coordinator
If you thought only doctors and allied medical professionals could make a thriving career in hospitals, think again. Hospital Management is the emerging buzzword in the growing healthcare industry.
As the field of medicine sub-divides into a growing range of specialities, it finds echoes in the organisation of a hospital, which has acquired an equally complex structure.
No longer are hospitals simple health care institutions, with a set of doctors and nurses running the show. Today, they are corporate set-ups, rooted in sound management principles, thus requiring the expertise of trained management professionals to complement the specialised knowledge and skill sets of medical professionals.
As more and more of such corporate hospitals come into the fray, hospital management has become the norm of the day.
Today hospitals are recognising professional managers. There is more professionalism and professional management stepping into hospitals. It is predicted that after Information Technology it's the health care sector that is going to boom in the coming years.
As with any corporate organisation, there are two broad streams of functions within a corporate hospital set-up.
There is the line function, which comprises the roles of medical and allied professionals such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, and related support staff.
The staff function refers to the administrative areas, which has acquired a robust dimension in recent years. It covers the functional aspects including business development, human resources (HR), finance, the materials department and so forth.
The business development professionals focus on bringing in newer avenues of growth for the organisation. Hence, they are responsible for generating revenue. In the current scenario, merely attracting indigenous patients isn't enough.
In bigger hospitals, the thrust is on getting out of town and even attracting foreign patients, as the concept of medical tourism is beginning to gain currency.
Thus, the business development sector of the hospital organisation has to devise clear-cut strategies to bring in patients, who are principally the customers of corporate hospitals.
Once a patient steps into the portals of the hospitals, customer relationship management, better known as CRM in management jargon comes into play, for as with any corporate institution, effectively satisfying the customer is paramount.
What the business development people promise outside has to be delivered inside. So there is definitely a process control mechanism. Your processes, protocols, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) will have to be in place.
This is where the HR professionals step in. The driving catalysts are HR groups, who support the process mechanism by getting the right talent inside.
The skill sets have to be brought and the knowledge base has to be given to ensure people deliver the results.
Managing finances and controlling expenditure is crucial, especially in a hospital because the myriad medical procedures require sophisticated infrastructure by way of expensive technology, equipment and so forth.
Cost control is such an enormous challenge it requires the expertise of finance professionals including chartered accounts.
The role of hospital management professionals is multi-faceted. They must be able to fit into any position in the broad scheme of administrative operations.
Each time a patient steps in and moves out there is one flow chart, one single process which is going across the company. These are supported by sub-processes and departments.
A hospital management professional should understand how the processes work. He or she should have a very clear understanding of the business processes, internally, and also of what is happening in the same field outside.
Since hospital operations comprise complex procedures, the processes need to be observed with utmost accuracy to ensure effective delivery of service. This calls for an increased level of expertise in the incumbent's sphere of work.
Moreover, since this is a people dominant profession, good interpersonal skills are required to ensure effective inter-departmental and intra-departmental communication, for this has a direct bearing on the quality of service rendered to the patient. This is the aim of a hospital management professional.
The scope for shooting up the corporate ladder is immense in hospital management. Whether one is a management professional, hospital management incumbent or a medical professional, there is ample scope for all of them to rise to the position of CEO in certain institutions.