Education: Healthcare is much more than just medicine

Education: Healthcare is much more than just medicine

Here's a look at some of the unconventional courses that students can take to thrive in the field of healthcare

Specialised courses in the healthcare sector enable graduates to better understand strategic concepts and good business practices.

According to the Asian Development Bank, not only is India bound to possess the world’s largest workforce by 2027, it is also projected to sustain its impressive GDP growth rate of 7.6%. At the same time, the healthcare sector in India is facing an acute shortage of specialised trained professionals in hospital administration and management. To fill this gap, many educational institutions have started to offer specialised healthcare courses.

India has a wide scope of career opportunities for young healthcare professionals. Owing to the diversity Indian healthcare industry has, the sector is likely to perform well in the future, provided enough young individuals choose this rewarding career path. Healthcare jobs cover a whole gamut of doctors, nurses, technicians, administrative staff, IT and other support staff. Outside hospitals, there are clinical pathologists, medical representatives, drug manufacturers and researchers, among others. Furthermore, one can also work as engineers or biomedical and management professionals in the field.

Selecting the course

In a healthcare course, students are trained to manage various core and functional areas of a hospital such as health delivery, health laws and health needs. Students can also choose to specialise in a particular area such as health management, hospital management and health information technology. Such specialised courses would complement the clinical education and expertise of healthcare professionals and enable them to better understand strategic concepts and good business practices.

Healthcare Management is a rigorous course which requires a candidate to learn broadly about medicine, health insurance, computerised diagnostic and treatment equipment, data processing technology, government regulations, and other financing methods.

Along with a health management programme, students could also opt for healthcare finance, the economics of healthcare and clinical research. These courses, which are offered by various institutes, provide requisite knowledge that enables students to pursue a career in Bioinformatics either in academics or in the industry.

Those who are interested in healthcare and statistics and quantitative research, can pursue courses in Quality Assurance. This looks into ensuring improvement in the quality of care in a defined medical setting by assessing, evaluating and identifying problems related to care delivery, and designing quality improvement activities to overcome them.

Apart from these courses, students can also consider studying Postgraduate Diploma in Healthcare Quality Management, a short-term course offered by many reputed educational institutes. A Master’s in Public Health is another option that students can consider. This degree can help students tackle complex healthcare systems and services, and broaden and improve their reach. Additionally, they also have the opportunity to promote good health among the public.

Why healthcare?

There is a perceptible rise in the need for a skilled workforce which is equipped to deal with issues in critical management faced by hospitals and agencies in the areas of marketing, IT, human resource development, health insurance or pharmaceuticals. This has escalated demand for health professionals with business 
acumen. As a result, we are seeing a rise in the number of educational institutes offering programmes that combine healthcare and management. Not only does this sector offer excellent job prospects and pay packages, but also has vast potential for career advancement.

India is gaining prominence in the global arena as a preferred healthcare destination, owing to advances in medical research. A career as a healthcare professional is rewarding in terms of both personal growth and social advancement.

(The author is professor, International Institute of Health Management Research, New Delhi)