Why doctors need to upskill with management courses – Times of India

By | July 19, 2021

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The pandemic may have exposed the lacunae of the country’s extended healthcare ecosystem, but on the positive side, this massive challenge is proving to be an opportunity to scale-up the healthcare infrastructure. “A multi-pronged strategy and a business-like approach is the need of the hour. While our doctors have shown great levels of resilience and dedication while fighting the Covid-19 challenge, they, along with related healthcare professionals, require a well-rounded skill set which not only includes domain knowledge and related expertise, but also sound business management and administration skills,” says Antarpreet Singh, ex Asia Pacific head-Alcatel Lucent University and a digital transformation expert.

He explains that doctors need to be trained in various management areas like strategic management, human capital development, financial management and digital transformation. “They are collaborating with digital machines and artificial intelligence extensively. Machine learning algorithms are helping doctors to diagnose and treat the patients with great precision. In such a scenario, there is a great opportunity for our business and technology schools to introduce management courses with a duration ranging from 6 months to 1 year. These programmes can be delivered in a blended format to focus on creating a well ‘balanced portfolio of managerial competencies’ for doctors. Such courses must include functional management skills as well as digital transformation capabilities,” he adds.

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Changing role
Himanshu Rai, director, IIM Indore, believes that management programmes can help in doctor’s skill enhancement specially since it is often seen as a means to maximise returns in resource constrained and challenging environments. “This context has become the new norm in hospitals, and doctors have to bear the additional responsibility of managing resources and overflowing demand, dealing with subordinates and colleagues, and staying motivated, and motivating others, under immense pressure. Management education has always focused on tools and techniques for the aforementioned challenges,” he says.

“With an increasing number of patients, limited resources, lack of motivated workforce, and difficulty in managing their own personal lives, doctors can make use of the management training to plan and execute their duties better, Rai adds. In keeping with this demand, IIM Indore is providing an online leadership management programme called Kritajna for 100 doctors free of cost between July 31-November 7, 2021, that will help doctors develop strategies for negotiation, conflict and change management. Apart from this, a year-long online Post Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management is also in the pipeline with classes on weekends.

Need for strategic mindset

Emphasising on the changing dynamics of the healthcare sector, Sowmya Shashidhara, associate director – Max Institute of Healthcare Management, Indian School of Business (ISB), says, “Earlier, single doctor setups were the norm. Healthcare delivery has come a long way since then. Newer delivery models are emerging, and with investments coming in, efficiency and accountability is being demanded. As a result, the professionalisation of healthcare delivery as a discipline has come into being. With this, the new age clinicians in decision-making roles have to develop a strategic mindset and move from intuitive management to applying time-tested management principles. This is where a formal management programme can help.”

ISB has been offering a year-long Advanced Management Programme for Healthcare (AMPH) for clinicians, administrators as well as other emerging leaders who come from allied sub-sectors such as healthcare IT, biotech, pharma etc with this end in view.

Right time to enrol


As to what would be the right time to enrol for such programmes, Shashidhara says the realisation that doctors alone cannot influence patient outcomes and that there is an entire system of which they are a part, leads to thoughts of either improving the current system or developing a new system (business model). “That phase of their career is a perfect time for doctors to enrol in a management programme,” she adds.


Boost to careers

Today’s healthcare systems, she claims, are complex. “To deliver profitable, high-quality care, the doctor must understand the business aspect of healthcare delivery. Our alumni from our healthcare programme have transitioned into enhanced management roles as facility directors, COO of hospitals or head of new business. Increasingly, a good number of our graduates are also taking the entrepreneurial plunge both in tech-enabled startups and traditional enterprises. What they continue to reap is a changed mindset,” Shashidhara adds.

Apart from regular hospital settings, even if a physician wants to continue or expand his/her own practice after the course, the leadership and managerial skills they learn can add value to their work,” says Rajesh Bhattacharya, associate professor, Public Policy and Management Group, IIM Calcutta that offers a one-year Healthcare Management programme where aspirants get to understand among other things, the current healthcare landscape, including healthcare analytics, health economics, and public policy. “No matter how one chooses to incorporate these aspects in their career, there is no getting away from them in the current healthcare scenario. Therefore, a professional degree is a hassle-free and logical route,” he adds.



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