Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries out there. In fact, jobs for healthcare managers are expected to grow by 23% through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), given the rising healthcare demands of the aging Baby Boomer population and other factors. As demand for healthcare management increases, it is reasonable to expect that many clinical professionals will jump into the game. But do you have to have a clinical background to begin a successful career in healthcare? The answer might surprise you.
During American InterContinental University’s recent Serious Talk Webinar “Where the Jobs Are in 2014,” senior healthcare executive, author and AIU Online business program faculty member Dr. Robert Rodriguez noted, “We are also seeing a change in the hospitals that I work with … they are looking for people with more of a business background rather than promoting a clinician to an administrative job.”
So how can a business degree help your healthcare career?
Hard skills. The healthcare industry isn’t just about hospitals anymore. All kinds of new businesses are springing up to meet the needs of patients. These include physical and occupational therapy practices, home healthcare services, nursing homes and even nurse practitioner businesses. Then there are the businesses that support new medical services such as medical supply companies, labs and technology companies, just to name a few. All of these organizations need business and entrepreneurial talent who understand everything from personnel management and marketing to strategic planning, so, as Dr. Rodriguez explained, “they are starting to look for people who can do accounting, people that can set up records manage large record systems, EMRs (electronic medical records) for keeping track of patient records. IT.”
Soft skills. Those who gravitate toward careers in business often hone what are called “soft skills.” “Think of all of the things that go into the continuity of care. Quality healthcare consists of four elements: communication, collaboration, coordination and continuity of care. And those first three Cs require someone with people skills, someone who is able to connect offices together. This isn’t a clinical position. This is a management position,” Rodriguez noted.
Soft skills such as communication, charisma, positive attitude, confidence and emotional intelligence help business administrators and managers build networks, connect with leadership across industries, negotiate better contracts, motivate personnel and hire effective teams.
Technology and innovation. “Look at all of those things that connect to hospitals,” Dr. Rodriguez explained. “The home healthcare companies, the electronics companies, the IT companies.” As healthcare and healthcare-related business expands, it will also become increasingly complex with a greater need for tech solutions. Business and technology managers likely will be needed to oversee those new changes.