3 management skills every healthcare leader needs

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The coronavirus pandemic has put healthcare leadership in the spotlight and the demand for healthcare leaders who combine medical knowledge with business acumen is increasing.

While health systems have organized themselves to protect populations and save lives, many challenges remain. One in 11 posts in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), for example, remains vacant. Innovative health leaders are needed to build smarter and more efficient health systems.



The new Online MBA Clinical Leadership, from the University of Birmingham, helps healthcare professionals develop the skills needed to lead the healthcare industry, covering the fundamentals of management combined with a focus on service management health. In an upcoming webinar, the University of Birmingham aims to answer questions about what a clinic-run organization really looks like, and this program tries to make that idea a reality.

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The 100% online, AMBA-accredited MBA program is aimed at clinical or non-clinical professionals looking to grow into leadership roles in healthcare, as well as current healthcare leaders keen to develop further. their management skills. Well regarded, the course is ranked 13th in the world’s best online MBA by QS.

What key management skills does every healthcare manager need? Iain Snelling, co-director of the new program, jointly delivered by Birmingham Business School and the Health Services Management Center, shares his thoughts on the skills most in demand by healthcare leaders.


1. Medical department

Generalist management skills are essential for successful healthcare leaders, but specialized knowledge of working in the healthcare industry is equally important.

Healthcare organizations led by clinical staff – people who work in a hospital whose duties include the medical care or treatment of patients – often perform better than those where there are fewer clinicians in leadership roles, says Iain .

“Improved clinical leadership is also crucial for leading individual services: Organizations’ boards of directors establish important context, but without effective leadership in individual services, no improvement will be made,” notes Iain.

The MBA Clinical Leadership therefore offers three specialized modules that respond to current challenges in health services: governance, policy and regulation; Leading clinicians; and digital health. These modules help clinical professionals to deepen their knowledge, while professionals without clinical training have the opportunity to develop their clinical expertise.

“Modules address the complex processes by which organizations ensure quality of service within external regulatory frameworks, the specific challenges and opportunities of leading clinicians, and the fundamental importance of a range of digital technologies in service development. health, ”Iain explains.

Healthcare professionals who balance this specialized knowledge with basic managerial skills are well prepared to reach leadership positions.

While healthcare organizations are the most likely recruiters for Birmingham MBA Clinical Leadership graduates, others include government departments, regulatory agencies, international agencies, management consulting firms, and the pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries. life sciences.

“Health spending is invariably around 10% of GDP in high-income countries,” concludes Iain. “The demand for graduates with skills in general management and healthcare organizations is likely to grow. “


2. Agility

Today’s healthcare leaders must constantly adapt to challenges and changing work environments.

Working from home during the pandemic has seen leaders grapple with new technologies and changing styles of working. Under pressure from the Covid, resources have been strained. At the same time, the impact of climate change continues to increase pressure on health systems.

“Clinicians, health officials, policy makers and people working in related sectors need to understand and be able to meet these challenges,” Iain, who previously worked as co-director of the educational component of the program. NHS Graduate Training and NHS Graduate Training Program. The NHS Clinical Leadership Fellows programs, explains.

“[They] need to ensure that the quality of patient care is maximized while controlling the cost of care.

“This new MBA Clinical Leadership responds to a growing global demand for health systems to better respond to new and emerging challenges such as demographic and cultural changes as well as health-related challenges such as global pandemics.”


3. Crisis management

The pandemic has demonstrated how important it is for health officials to prepare for the worst and ensure that when a crisis does strike it can be managed.

“As the world faces a global pandemic and struggles to meet the growing demand for healthcare, the importance of better-trained leaders cannot be underestimated,” says Iain. But medical training alone is not enough to manage such crises.


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Healthcare leaders need a broader understanding of how the system works as a business. MBA programs offer this foundational management training, covering topics such as strategy, economics, and supply chain management.

Focusing on being a leader as well as a clinician can help healthcare professionals become an authoritative and guiding voice in a crisis. The goal of the MBA program, notes Iain, is to increase the number of clinicians in leadership positions and on the boards of organizations.


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