Healthcare: it’s more than just an annual check-up with your doctor. At the Healthcare Careers Forum hosted by Mays Business School on Sept. 25, leaders and innovators in the healthcare industry spoke on the abundance of opportunities within this constantly changing industry. 

Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor and Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence, hosted and organized the event. He opened it by providing an overview of the Mays’ Grand Challenge of healthcare. The acclaimed researcher and author of Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic explained how Mays is committed to advancing the world’s prosperity by enhancing human health.

J.R. Thomas, Founder and Co-Managing Principal of Thomas Marshall Group, talked about lessons he learned in healthcare and why one should choose a career in healthcare. He said healthcare is the best industry for you and your family and to always remember that passion and hard work will provide invaluable experience.

Thomas listed attributes of successful people:

  •         Living beneath your means
  •         Humility
  •         Accountability (or having the attitude that you are in charge and in control of your life)
  •         Hard work (investing in your career early)
  •         Believing in your success

With healthcare spending projected to grow 5.6 percent annually over the next decade and employment projected to grow 18 percent by 2026, Thomas Jackson, CEO of St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, spoke on the importance of administrative roles in healthcare. Administrators who are team players, instill a vision, and act on integrity are imperative to meeting the mission and goals of transformational healthcare. Approaching work with pride, guiding initiatives toward engaging the consumer, and surrounding yourself with smart people were also mentioned as key pieces of advice to being a successful healthcare administrator.

David Bradshaw, former Executive VP, CSO, and CIO of Memorial Herman Health System, discussed healthcare careers in IT, explaining that security is “hottest” right now. Specialists in analytics are important too as they determine how to provide better service and receive more revenue with less cost. Project management specialists make sure everything is on time, on scope, and in budget while medical information officers make life better for the doctors.

Bradshaw also discussed healthcare careers in marketing and strategy. Branding, digital, campus/service lines, physician liaisons, public relations, and internal communications are necessary for patient engagement. Innovation, planning, and mergers and acquisitions allow growth and improvement hospitals and patient care alike.

Brad Gibson, VP for Revenue Cycle and Treasurer of MD Anderson Cancer Research Center, continued the conversation with healthcare careers in finance. Gibson said that finance personnel understand the struggle of bundles in healthcare, especially with cancer patients. The quadruple aim for satisfied patients is improved population health, reduced care costs, and satisfied providers. This is where finance personnel can provide valuable insights.

Gibson described two finance career pathways: the central finance/business path and the clinical or research to business path.

Central finance/business path:

  •         Financial Analyst
  •         Financial Reporting Officer
  •         Director
  •         Associate VP
  •         VP

Clinical or research to business path:

  •         EMT Paramedic
  •         Patient Advocate
  •         Department Administrator
  •         Business Support Analyst in Finance
  •         Project Director – Finance/IT
  •         Director in Finance
  •         Executive Director in Finance

In order to jumpstart a career in these paths, Gibson suggested utilizing the Texas A&M Career Center, faculty members’ connections, and industry presentations. He also suggested the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s online job bank, healthcare-specific recruitment firms, and Systemness Career Compass. Once in the job, Gibson advised seeking out mentoring opportunities, having a lifelong learning mindset, gaining project experience, and engaging in leadership academies.

Nikki R. Parham, Partner and Health Industries Advisory for PwC, closed out the forum with healthcare careers in consulting. Parham listed what healthcare consultants must focus on when working with clients:

  •         Growing business and increasing revenue
  •         Managing costs
  •         Keeping up with technology
  •         Offer great experience and quality care
  •         Managing population health and big data
  •         Managing risk

Parham emphasized that offering unique solutions and services, addressing trends, and accelerating innovation in consumer health is critical to solving client problems.

The event concluded with networking time and a dinner for participants.