All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence, said Martin Luther King, Jr. The Masters in Hospital Administration course is meant for those people who share these sentiments, because job responsibilities range from giving astute guidance in administration to managing the daily affairs of the hospital.
Efficient management can play a role in saving more lives. With the advent of medical tourism and rapid development in technologies the health sector is emerging as one of the fastest growing sectors in India. Several corporates and business organisations have forayed into the healthcare sector, thus resulting in the healthcare delivery system becoming more organised, systematic and efficient. Hence, the healthcare industry needs professionals who can handle these challenges.
The programmes enable individuals to take on leadership roles by equipping them with training in planning, project and operational management, financial, material and human resource management.
Course: Master’s in Hospital Administration (MHA)
Duration:Two academic years divided into four semesters, each of six months duration. Annual intake is about 40 students a year per institute.
Eligibility:Bachelor’s degree in Arts/ Science/ Commerce/ Engineering/ Technology/ Medical/ Dental/ Pharmacy/ Agriculture or any other professional courses from recognised Indian universities
Entrance test: Written test (MCQ-type of one-hour duration) followed by a Group Discussion and Interview
The success of a hospital manager lies in several things - multidisciplinary conceptual skills to protect the medical profession and clients from unnecessary litigation, human resource development, quality and risk management, environment conservation, marketing and product diversification and logistic emergency management. “The MHA programme aims to prepare a candidate to assume the responsibilities of a hospital administrator or executive in a government or corporate or any other hospital,” says Dr DK Sharma, CMO, AIIMS, Delhi.
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The programme emphasises developing knowledge, skill and attitude pertaining to Hospital Managers. It also helps the candidates in developing expertise in planning and managing different types of hospitals and will equip the student with problem solving devices.
The hospital administrator of the future needs to be well-equipped to meet the challenges arising out of rising healthcare cost; procurement, utilisation and maintenance.
With medicine becoming more and more technology dependent, and equipment-intensive, the need for a system driven approach to its practise has now become very crucial. An administrator’s prime role is to ensure that all these diverse systems and equipment ultimately serve the purpose of healing. Delivery of efficient services without intimidating the patient is the hallmark of a good hospital administrator.
The curriculum is designed to cover conceptual and quantitative skills needed by future managers in high performing contemporary hospitals. There are two stages:
Stage 1: Teaching of basic introductory course comprising basic managerial concepts, development of health services in India and research methodologies, what is a hospital and system approach to hospital management.
Stage 2: Teaching of basics of computers, communication, personnel, financial and marketing and equipment management in hospital, legal issues in hospital administration, biomedical waste management, disaster management in hospitals and management information system.
An internship, a project and on-the-job training is also a part of the curriculum in most programmes.
How to choose an institute
This profession is still evolving. So, beware of institutes that promise you the moon and dupe you! Factor in a few things before taking admission, such as the kind of exposure the institute is providing to handle the challenges of being in hospital administration.
The institute must have reputed and well-qualified faculty that can train you in handling the pressures of hospital administration. As Dr Sharma cautions, different people may have different priorities when they recommend choosing an institute. “Broadly speaking, I believe that students should opt for an institute, which has a reputed faculty, structured and appropriate curriculum and the means to impact the knowledge. This includes the practical training in a hospital since it is an essential component by education in the field of hospital administration,” he adds. A school that emerges out a hospital chain is always more attractive since option of training at multiple locations becomes a realty.
Challenges of the job
An important aspect of a hospital administrator’s life is to be able to act as a successful intermediary between governing boards, medical staff, and department heads and integrate the activities of all departments so they function smoothly as a whole. “Hospital administrators are busy people. He or she encounter many problems ranging from the simple to the very serious, such as maintenance, lack of materials, lack of hygiene, reports of investigation and patients’ grouse with the nurses or doctors,” Prof P K Dave, Chairman (Former), Advisory Board, Rockland Hospital & Former Director AIIMS elaborates. According to Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, CEO, Batra Hospital, Delhi, the life of a hospital administrator is tough and demanding.
The buck stops with a chief administrator i.e. the CEO, who is accountable and responsible for the hospital management, administration, clinical outcomes, and financial revenue and over all functioning of the hospital.
It is a good 10-12 hours day. The key to progress is to have a performance-based review system for clinical doctors and hospital staff, monitor the clinical progress of all patients, ensure unrelenting medical ethics and last but not the least, have compassion towards the sick.
Hospital administrator’s job has a 24 X 7 quality about it, which demands high adrenaline levels as well as leadership abilities, creativity, social responsibility and inter-personal skills in high-stress situations. Dr. Manish Mattoo, Faculty Director, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Raipur shares that hospital administration is a platform, which tests an individual’s all-round abilities. “Previously a hospital administrator used to be a medical man.
The role of administrator has undergone a sea change. The current thinking is that a doctor should confine himself to clinical work and that an administrator should be a specialised person trained in hospital administration from a recognised institution. He could be a medical or non-medical person. It is not a job for the weak hearted,” says Bagai of Batra Hospital.
He elaborates that the role has evolved, due to the growing expectations and demands of educated patients, the massive task of retaining the best medical talent, to keep pace with the great advancement in medical technology and equipment, and to have both doctors and patients satisfied. The role of the hospital administrator has now changed to aggressively keeping pace with competition, yet deliver affordable, accessible and accredited healthcare. “We have also the distinct role to take medical research, academics and teaching to newer frontiers,” he added.
Hannah Anderson and Donald Hansen, hospital administrators by profession for several years, launched their own website to help guide aspiring hospital administrators. They share on their site,"As a result of our first hand experiences, we try to be as honest and unvarnished in the opinions we express so that students can have an accurate picture of the field and thus make sure its a good decision for them."
Entering the field
A Master’s degree in Health Administration is one entry-point, an MBA is another. Health Services Administrators normally start as administrative assistants in large centres or as assistant administrators in medium-sized institutions. They advance by taking increasing responsibilities such as associate administrator and, finally reach the coveted post of a CEO.
An entry-level position as Assistant Medical Superintendent could command between Rs. 40,000-50,000 and then go up to Rs. 50,000-55,000 as Deputy Medical Superintendents, then close to Rs. 1 Lakh as Medical Superintendent. As your career progresses you could reach the level of an MD and earn between Rs. 1.5-2 lakhs per month. Perks include HRA, Medical, transportation and accommodation. Medical professionals who become administrators can earn a slightly higher package.
The future is bright
Estimated at US$35 billion in 2007, the Indian healthcare market is expected to grow to US$70 billion by 2012. According to the Investment Commission of India the healthcare sector has experienced phenomenal growth of 12 percent per annum in the last four years. And the abysmal beds to population ratio could only make the demand for hospitals more.
So, the prospects of a hospital administrator is very bright. As Dr Sharma, MS of AIIMS says, “There is a relative scarcity of good and capable hospital administrators. Both public sector and corporate sector hospitals are recruiting them. Besides hospitals and healthcare sector, allied sectors such as the insurance sector are also recruiting.” You can certainly make a career out of helping others lead a healthy life.
Dr. D.K. Sharma
Q. How do you look at the life of a hospital administrator?
Q. How has the role of a hospital administrator evolved over the years?
Q. What is the scope of hospital administrator in India?
Q. What changes are expected in hospital administration education?
Q. What is your advice to students entering this field?
Q. What are some of the upcoming areas in hospital administration?