Healthcare is more than just about nurses running around in scrubs and doctors treating the patients and taking care of their needs. Healthcare is a big business!
In 2020, the US healthcare expenditure was more than $4 trillion, or $10,202 per person. So, limiting healthcare to patient care is narrowing down its scope.
The health industry is one of the most expensive sectors to operate in, but it’s necessary for all humans. Healthcare providers provide care around the clock so people can receive medical attention when they need it most – regardless of whether you’re rich or poor!
However, when you think about healthcare in business terms, it is unlike the traditional businesses, judged in supply and demand terms. There is no product that you can stock and sell later. It has an important part to play in attracting customers and developing the right pool of candidates who might be interested in working in a hospital.
But for running a hospital as a business facility, you need business leaders geared towards ensuring its long-term survival in the face of competition. The business acumen possessed by the healthcare professionals assists them in working with policymakers to achieve collective goals. At the same time, they can strive to make healthcare more accessible and garner positive patient outcomes.
Healthcare professionals who want to be successful in their careers should consider taking up business education. The introduction of the MBA MHA dual degree online program is a step in the right direction.
The program is for healthcare professionals who want to gain insight into hospital business practices to better advocate for their institution.
Technological disruptions have become a norm
More and more healthcare facilities and doctors embrace technological applications to cure their patients. The use of telehealth medicine, video conferencing technology, and on-demand medical care through mobile phones is gaining traction among consumers.
Few patients want an actual face-to-face visit in the clinic to save time. More consumers demand a complete platform that includes access to doctors, medical records, and exercise and medication schedules to meet their health and wellness goals. Using technological devices and apps to track the health and lifestyle data and monitor the changes has become a norm.
In the backdrop of the patient’s demand, healthcare professionals need business acumen to embrace the changes brought forward by technology. They must be ready to use these innovative applications to improve hospitals’ efficiency. While business giants are willing to provide innovative devices to healthcare, leaders in the hospital must use these applications pragmatically. They must ensure that facilities deliver better service to their patients with these changes. Technology can also make the professionals’ jobs much easier and decrease the cost of healthcare, which is a win-win for the hospitals and consumers.
Transforming patient needs into wants
Traditionally, patients seek medical services when they are unwell. Hence, it is the need that drives them to the hospital. When looking at a hospital from a business point of view, healthcare professionals must strive to develop wants instead of needs.
Businesses often develop a product and then create its demand through adverts and campaigns. Successful doctors and healthcare professionals need to work with a similar approach to drive the customers towards hospitals for more than fulfilling their healthcare services. They need to work to provide a gratifying experience to the patients.
It is only possible when you have the business acumen to address this issue as a profit-maker eager to drive more business. One example is nursing homes where people come to live comfortably. Similarly, think about a modern hospital. Do you feel you are in a medical facility when you set foot there? We highly doubt that; they resemble more like hotels than hospitals.
Changing landscape of economics of healthcare
Healthcare witnessing joint ventures with Amazon, JP Morgan, and others is an example of changes in the business structure of healthcare. More insurance companies are collaborating with healthcare providers to streamline their processes.
Healthcare needs to rethink its payment model. Are they charging for the services or the value? Today patients demand customer service and experience from hospitals, just like any other business. They want value for their money. So, many hospitals are witnessing a shift from volume to outcomes. Beyond the number of patients they treat, healthcare professionals need to focus on patient outcomes, experience, and satisfaction.
Increase your learning
You cannot develop business acumen overnight; it is a continuous process that demands time and consistency. One way to increase business acumen is to enhance your learning through various books, resources, and articles on this subject. Schedule your activities and set aside some time for reading and implementing business acumen practices in healthcare.
Have a global perspective
Paying heed to how big companies make decisions and what is going on in the business world is another way to develop good business acumen. Watch industry and business news or read the business page of the newspaper. You can stay ahead of industry trends and forecast how certain patterns will unfurl by watching the news. Check what is happening in healthcare worldwide and what leaders are doing to reinforce its business side.
Dual degree courses are one way to develop business knowledge alongside strong healthcare-related knowledge. But another practical way is cross-functional training. Clinical professionals can be trained with the management in cross-functional training and know their administrative roles. To provide the best customer service is not the duty of the management only. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists must also realize that they are ultimately part of a business. Their patient care service can enhance the patients’ positive experience, leading to positive word of mouth.
Healthcare is changing not just concerning medical breakthroughs but also regarding its business case. The healthcare professionals can no longer work with clinical knowledge only. They need ample understanding of the business side of a healthcare facility to reinforce the management’s goals.