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Hospital administration: Rising demand for healthcare administrators

The phenomenon of global health tourists who expect world-class management systems to supplement healthcare and medical services has created a market for backroom healthcare professionals.

With India emerging as a major destination for the multiplying tribe of ‘health tourists travelling the world for medical attention and treatment, a host of two to five star general and specialist hospitals are mushrooming across the subcontinent. Over 200,000 foreigners receive treatment in private sector Indian hospitals. Inevitably they — and the growing number of domestic upscale patients — expect world-class management and administrative systems to supplement healthcare and medical services.

This Rs.70,000 crore industry is all set to grow further with investment from the state and private sectors rising. The industry employs an estimated two million personnel — doctors, nurses and technicians with specialists in great demand. As health corporate enter the field, there will be greater demand for healthcare professionals. Other than technical staff, the healthcare sector is most likely to depend on recruitment from other service sectors such as airlines and hospitality.

Consequently, the healthcare sector is currently experiencing a sharp demand upswing for professional health administrators to manage state-of-the-art hospitals and healthcare institutions springing up all over the country.

Health administrators/managers provide the non-medical backup services of general management, coordination, and post-operative care which are vital to the success and good reputation of hospitals and healthcare institutions. Non-medical healthcare professionals are required to inter alia devise organisation management systems; manage institutional finances; maintain buildings, premises, operation theatres, hospital rooms and wards; devise personnel management systems; purchase supplies and equipment; and supervise support services such as laundry, catering, cleaning, and transport. A health administrators functions varies according to his/her specialist skills and interests and the requirement of the institutions they serve.

Fortunately there are a number of prestigious institutions which offer contemporary postgraduate study programmes in health administration. Among the best are:

  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, offers a two-year Masters programme in hospital and health administration (MHA) as also a 12-month diploma programme in hospital administration. Eligibility requirements are a bachelors degree from a medical or paramedical institution or three years work experience in a healthcare institution. Alternatively a bachelors degree in any subject with a 45 percent average (35 percent for SC/ST) and a minimum of five years work experience in a healthcare institution
  • Hinduja Institute of Health Care Management, Hyderabad, in collaboration with the Administrative Staff College of India and Johns Hopkins University offers a two-year full-time MHA study programme
  • Symbiosis Centre of Health Care, Pune, offers a one-year distance education programme which is also available online
  • Apollo Group of Hospitals has promoted an institute in Hyderabad offering MHA study programmes
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, admits medical graduates (MBBS) with three years work experience in a recognised hospital. It also admits non-medical graduates with seven years administrative experience in hospitals
  • Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata, offers a postgraduate diploma programme in hospital management to graduates of medical science/pharmacy/ biological sciences
  • Institute of Health Management Research, Jaipur, offers a two-year full-time post graduate programme in hospital and health management.
  • Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, offers M.B.A in hospital and health systems management
  • Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, offers a degree course in hospital administration
  • Hospital administration diplomas are also offered by IIM-Bangalore and Institute of Health Management and Research, Jaipur.

FAT PAY. Healthcare institutions tend to prefer postgraduates in hospital and health administration. Other employers include hospitals, pharma companies, NGOs, insurance companies, drug development centres, clinical trial outfits, and healthcare/IT developers and vendors. Qualified MHA professionals start at an average salary of Rs.15,000 per month and upward mobility all the way up to the CEO level is rapid for those with enthusiasm and professional training.

Salaries range from Rs.12 lakh to Rs.14 lakh per annum for the top jobs like the hospital administrator or super speciality doctors.

The Indian hospital and healthcare sectors are in a high growth phase, both in terms of volume and sophistication. One of the principal drivers of Indias hospital sector during the past decade is corporatisation. As hospitals, nursing homes, and healthcare centres become more capital intensive, the need for trained manpower will increase. Therefore qualified MHAs are in great demand in large corporate and trust hospitals,” asserts Dr. Narsinha Reddy, hospital administrator at the Bombay Hospital and Medical Research Centre, the largest (900-bed) private hospital in Mumbai.

After acquiring an MBBS degree in 1996, Reddy worked with ONGC for two years and subsequently joined the Hinduja Institute of Health Care Management Administration (MHA) programme in Hyderabad. In his second year he interned with Bombay Hospital, where he landed a permanent job after postgraduation. A duly qualified medical practitioner has an edge over non-medical MHAs because he has a better knowledge of the support systems required by medical practitioners. My prediction is that doctors migrating into administration will become a trend. In the next five years it will be a highly recognised and well-paid profession,” predicts Reddy.

Cost-effective healthcare of internationally acceptable standards is attracting universal attention and India is one of the few countries uniquely equipped to offer it. With imports being liberalised, we offer the best equipment and best doctors at relatively low prices. Medical tourism is a new development with immense growth potential. But to tap this growing global market of medical tourists, Indian hospitals, healthcare institutions, spas, and health resorts need excellent and efficient management systems which inspire client confidence. That’s why the burgeoning demand for trained hospital administrators,” says Reddy.

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