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Boosting employability skills

Dipanjan Sujit Roy |

Healthcare is among the fastest growing sectors of Indian economy today. It comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and equipment. The factors that have contributed to the growth include government policies, tax benefits, health awareness, rising incomes, lifestyle diseases, medical tourism, and increasing access to insurance.

According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, a trust set up by the commerce department, the overall healthcare market is worth around $ 100 billion and is expected to grow to $ 280 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 22.9 per cent.

Similarly, Indian medical tourism is expected to reach $ 6 billion by 2018, and the healthcare information technology market is estimated to grow 1.5 times by 2020, from the current $ 1 billion.

One of the inferences that can be drawn from the data mentioned is that this industry promises to give a big boost to employment opportunities in the coming years. And one of the important areas where these jobs are going to be created is healthcare management.

Several business houses have made big investments in this sector, and made it absolutely necessary for the healthcare delivery system to function in a professional, organised, and efficient manner. There is an urgent need for not only trained doctors and nurses, but also qualified healthcare and hospital managers to handle these challenges.

Besides operational and financial necessities, efficient management is also required to save more lives. Whether it is maintenance of general hygiene or biomedical waste, optimal utilisation of equipment, availability of life saving drugs and essential materials, efficient functioning of OPDs, emergency wards and operation theatres various measures help in saving lives besides, of course, availability of good doctors.

In fact, the role of hospital administration has undergone a major change over the past decade or so. Most modern hospitals and healthcare establishments today need managers equipped with multi-disciplinary skills such as hospitality management, understanding of medico-legal litigation, data management, environment conservation, human resource development, quality and risk management, marketing and product diversification and logistic emergency management.

Growth in science and technology and the increasing use of medical apps have made it necessary for healthcare managers to have considerable understanding of information technology as well. And in a more general way, a hospital manager is also required to act as an intermediary between clinical staff, departmental heads, and governing bodies to ensure overall smooth functioning of the organisation.

As far as job opportunities are concerned, hospital management professionals are required not only in hospitals and clinics, but also in healthcare NGOs, hospital consultancy companies, health insurance firms, and IT industry involved in developing software for hospitals and healthcare institutions.They can work as hospital superintendents, heads of departments, deans, directors and chief executive officers.

This is a profitable career option because, besides getting lucrative remuneration, it helps you to achieve the goal of service to mankind.

Many students nowadays are highly confused with what to do after graduation. Few lucky ones get a job after graduation, but majority have to get a post graduate degree to have a decent job. Healthcare management is one such field that has brilliant prospects in job environment. Currently the demand outweighs the supply and this is likely to be in the coming decade. First of the hirers are the traditional hospitals of various magnitude and size, then there are health programmes like national health mission, control programmes, etc.

The other opportunities are IT firms like Dell, ZS Associates and consulting agencies like Accenture, PwC, Delloite that hire such professionals. NGO working in health sector is another favoured destination. In fact, professionals have the luxury to choose from government to high level private players in India and abroad. In case of fresh graduates without any work experience, the industry would hire them as middle to upper middle level managers in hospitals or health programmes. But if one has some years of experience, they could start up higher enough and reach the zenith in a few years time.

Many healthcare management professionals do not wish to join any industry but start a venture of their own. Given the rigors of healthcare management trainings and practicals, this is emerging as one of the new and interesting option. It could be hospitals, consulting firms, management agencies or even healthcare IT firms.

However, there is catch in all of these. This is a specialised field and need professionals to impart the appropriate knowledge and skills. Not all the institutes and academies have the required capabilities to provide curriculum and training to create job ready candidates. One should select the right career with a couple of things in mind, the foremost being interest in that field. As the old saying goes, if you are doing what interests you, sky is the limit.

The writer is director, IIHMR, Delhi.