Healthcare consulting, a lucrative and growing industry, has contributed significantly to the $42 billion management consulting market in the U.S. In fact, according to one source, the market for healthcare consulting grew by 9.5 percent in the U.S. in 2015 and 7 percent globally, with all signs indicating those numbers will remain steady in the coming years.
With such appealing growth, many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are branching out to create healthcare consulting firms of their own or take positions within established organizations. These firms provide a valuable service within the medical field, offering specialized analysis and improvement advice for practices and hospitals.
Considering all the changes taking place in the healthcare field, as well as rising costs and the increasing life expectancy of the population, many organizations have felt increasing pressure to make a variety of reforms for improving efficiency and patient care outcomes.
For that reason and others, healthcare consulting on everything from reviewing policies and business models to upgrading internal technology has grown in demand. Selecting the right consulting firm is important for these organizations, since many firms specialize, depending on both the individual needs of the practice or hospital and its size.
Despite the variations, all successful healthcare consulting firms do have a few things in common. The most important of these is their dependence upon the expertise and experience of the individual consultants, which is great news for medical professionals who are looking to take a new path—that is, as long as they have the right outlook and approach to the healthcare consulting field.
Below are the top 5 traits of successful healthcare consultants. With the right experience, training, and planning—starting with these important qualities—healthcare professionals from all positions in the industry can find the right niche within healthcare consulting to find their own success.
In most businesses, communication is key. In healthcare consulting, it’s basically the foundation of everything that takes place. Having a strong handle on communication, whether that is applied to consulting with a practice or to evaluating the practice’s communication capabilities, is vital. Healthcare consultants are basically providing criticism about how an organization is run. They must be able to communicate that clearly, professionally, and without offense in order to be effective.
Critical and creative thinking
The core component in a healthcare consultant’s work is problem solving. Being able to think critically and creatively in not only offering solutions, but also in locating the real source of the issue is essential. Without truly understanding the source of the problem, any solution would function as a trial-and-error band-aid at best. With healthcare consulting, the goal is to provide value and advice on changes from an unbiased standpoint based on real experience in order to prevent trial-and-error solutions. To do that, consultants must be able to analyze and correlate a great deal of data in order to provide efficient solutions that will resolve costly issues.
Strong personalities, unpredictability, and time limits are all predictable components in healthcare consulting. A successful professional has to be self-motivated and willing to see problems through to the end. This requires resourcefulness and the ability to be calm under pressure.
Willingness to travel
Larger hospital systems and the various practices that may need help are not always going to be located in the same place. Success also relies on the ability to travel in order to meet staff in person in order to ascertain the source of the problem.
Healthcare consulting is rarely a predictable field. The problems professionals are likely to experience may reach beyond the anticipated concerns. Effective healthcare consultants will be capable of adapting to the situation and rising above the expected. Solutions are the goal, and finding the right ones may require flexibility in thinking and an approach that meets the specific needs of the healthcare client.
Healthcare consulting is a challenging industry, but one with enormous potential for the capable mind. For medical professionals who are considering joining the industry, the traits above and the capacity to grow are essential for professional success. With a willingness to learn, individuals with the right training and the right minds may discover that it’s not doing or teaching that brings the most value, but helping others learn new ways to do what they do better.