Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Smart SkillS
Usha AlbuquerqueHospital management offers myriad opportunities
Usha Albuquerque

It is not only Rahul Mahajan, or his father, who were rushed to private hospitals in times of emergency, but more and more, the common man is beginning to depend on private hospital treatment. The past 10 years have seen a huge development in the healthcare sector with many more private organisations and multi-national companies setting up multi-speciality hospitals.

For decades, it was the government that provided basic healthcare and essential hospital services in rural and urban areas. But with little growth in this sector, the infrastructure and the quality of services are inadequate to meet the growing requirements of an increasing population. Health services in the country require not only an infusion of more doctors and specialists, but professional services of trained manpower to manage hospitals and medical facilities. This has, in turn, encouraged trained professionals to enter the health services.

Health care administration or hospital management as it is also called provides management skills for the delivery of healthcare services. Doctors and medical specialists have so far been managing hospitals and health centres, without possessing the necessary managerial training. Moreover, it takes away precious time required by doctors to carry out their medical responsibilities. Therefore, of late most large and medium sized hospitals have specially trained professional hospital administrators with a management team responsible for the management of the healthcare services and medical staff, for planning and control, for continuous supply of materials, the management of the research and clinical work, and so on.

In most large hospitals, the administrative set-up has both medical and non-medical administrators. While the technical aspects such as the procurement of equipment and medical supplies, recruitment and training of staff and the management of the professional services and research work is carried out by medical administrators, or doctors, hospital management professionals handle other responsibilities.

Work of hospital managers

The work of hospital managers ,therefore, includes the recruitment and management of other staff, the maintenance of the hospital and of services other than medical services, accounts and finance, marketing and communications and security. Hospital managers work from the premises of the hospital and need to be physically present in the hospital complex. They need to walk around the hospital and monitor the different services. They also need to maintain good communications with the management and staff of all departments, doctors and medical specialists, para-medical staff, health workers, and ensure the well-being of all patients.

Besides an understanding of the functions of the different departments, hospital managers should be familiar with financial operations, personnel management, purchase of materials and storage, organisational development and patient care.


Those interested in the medical field can look at hospital administration as a good option. To get into this field, you can take up a post-graduate diploma in hospital management, or a graduate level course in public healthcare or healthcare services. The post-graduate programme is open to students from all disciplines. Doctors, too, can be admitted to this course. The All- India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and Delhi University, Faculty of Management Studies offers a Masters/MBA in Hospital administration for MBBS graduates with 3-5 years of experience

SNDT Women's University, Mumbai, Symbiosis Centre of Health Care, Pune, the Indian Institute of Health management Research, Jaipur, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal are some of the institutes that offer PG diploma courses in Healthcare/Hospital Administration to graduates of any discipline. University of Pune offers a B Sc in Hospital Administration, as well as a PG diploma in health education. Tata Institute of Social Services, Mumbai and the Apollo Institute of Hospital Administration, Hyderabad offer a Masters in Hospital Administration for medical and non-medical graduates with a minimum of 50% marks. There are also courses in health and family welfare management, offered through distance learning from the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, and IGNOU which offers PG diploma in Health Administration through correspondence for graduates with some related experience.

The programme combines training in management skills, management principles, accounting and business communication, along with specialised knowledge on the working of a hospital, marketing of hospital services and logistics management. You also get to know about basic healthcare and nutrition, prevention of communicable diseases, community health and other medical related services.

Private sector

With the government in no position to spend more on medical care, the Rs 60,000-crore healthcare services market is being taken over by the private sector. A CII McKinsey study sees the healthcare sector growing at 13 per cent per annum. No wonder large companies like Apollo, Wockhardt, Max, Fortis, Tata and Duncans are setting up state-of-the-art hospitals and clinics across the country for providing multi-speciality healthcare services. Moreover, due to the high costs and shortage of doctors for medical treatment in the West, India is emerging as an alternative centre for medical treatment All this action translates into growing opportunities for healthcare professionals, not just doctors nurses and technicians, but managers and administrators as well. who have an understanding of general management and its application to the healthcare delivery systems

So if you are good with people, have patience, tact and communication skills you can look at a fulfilling career as a manager or consultant with a hospital, nursing home or clinic, working to help people with medical problems. With some experience you could also set up a nursing home or hospital.

The writer is a noted career expert