Two Deakin faculties have joined forces to deliver a specialised degree that addresses the complexities of healthcare management.
In 2017, Deakin launched a bespoke dual-discipline master’s degree designed to address the changing needs of 21st century healthcare.
With a tide of challenges such as ageing and growing populations, the management of chronic disease, and rapid technological development, today’s healthcare managers must work in an evolving, complex environment that demands strong skills in both business and health.
For the past two and half years, Deakin’s Master of Business Administration – Healthcare Management (MBA-HCM) has been providing a growing number of graduates with specialised health-business learning which its Director, Associate Professor Sandeep Reddy, says is crucial for today’s health management role.
‘It’s critical to have an understanding in both areas so that healthcare organisations and services are managed efficiently. This degree is a one-of-its-kind as it places equal emphasis on health and business policy.’
Associate Professor Sandeep Reddy
Assoc. Prof. Reddy first trained as a medical doctor before building a global and widely-respected career in health service management, health informatics and public health; he also researches and teaches evaluation methodologies, artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, and hospital management.
Jointly managed by the Deakin Business School (Faculty of Business and Law) and Deakin’s School of Medicine (Faculty of Health), the MBA-HCM offers the best of both faculties: the core of Deakin’s highly-regarded MBA program and a tailored set of health units.
Assoc. Prof. Reddy says that under the wide umbrella of public health, healthcare management is a unique discipline that requires a specialised skill-set.
‘It brings together key aspects of business, workforce and people management and this is a very pertinent field because as important as clinicians are in delivering healthcare services, it’s also critical that healthcare services are managed efficiently.’
Offering flexibility and online delivery, the MBA-HCM consists of 16 units that deliver equal emphasis on business and health.
Eight core units are from the Faculty of Business and Law’s MBA program while the six core and two elective health units cover areas such as health informatics, law and ethics, healthcare operations, finance and governance.
‘We also offer residential and intensive learning options and a range of additional forums - which are exclusive to MBA-HCM students – as well as masterclasses on topics such as health informatics and hospital management,’ says Assoc. Prof. Reddy.
For students without a health industry background, the MBA-HCM offers work-integrated learning and industry placements with Deakin’s health sector partners that include Barwon Health and Ballarat Health Services.
Strong industry representation is also a feature of the MBA-HCM Advisory Committee says Assoc. Prof. Reddy.
‘We have high-calibre professionals and executives, including the CEO of Ballarat Health Services and the CEO of the Australian College of Nursing, who are providing valuable feedback and insight to ensure that the course is highly-relevant to the needs of the healthcare industry.’
In addition to the world-renowned AACSB accreditation, the MBA-HCM is also accredited with the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM) and recognised by the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administration for Fellowship training.
ACHSM is the peak body for Healthcare Executives in the Asia Pacific and this accreditation not only ensures quality and industry relevance, but also enhances graduate employability and networking opportunities.
Additionally, the MBA-HCM and the School of Medicine are associated with the Society for Health Administration Programs in Education (SHAPE) which enables ongoing quality improvement for the course content and alignment with current healthcare management trends and theories.
With the ongoing challenge of workforce delivery in the healthcare sector, the MBA-HCM is uniquely placed to equip global health industry leaders says Assoc. Prof. Reddy.
‘The industry is looking for managers and executive who can position healthcare organisations for enduring, adaptable and sustainable futures,’ he explains.
‘Healthcare management involves understanding health policy while also being able to manage projects that are built on sound business strategies and skills. This course is much more than a business degree. You cannot expect a business student to also graduate with years of healthcare management experience. And while there’s no shortcut, this course is the only one of its kind in Australia that’s effectively addressing the gaps in healthcare management education.’