From Medicine To Healthcare Management Consultancy

Sara Sabin Posted by Sara Sabin on June 03, 2016

A big thank you to Andreas and the team from Transformation Nous, who came to educate us on the healthcare management consultancy work that they do! For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s your chance to educate yourselves.

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WHAT IS CONSULTANCY?
Consultancy helps clients to create value. Either by:

  • Reducing costs; or
  • Increasing revenue without associated costs

This creates High Efficiency.

The consulting industry is huge and demand is rising. Most big consulting firms have specific types of consulting (strategy, operations, marketing, IT) which applies across all industries that they cover (e.g. pharma, consumer, energy, retail, public sector).

HEALTHCARE CONSULTANCY
With the NHS, the taxpayers are the shareholders, so value can be created by providing more care to more people with the same resources.

As the NHS is free at the point of delivery, there is no incentive to control transactional costs; which means spiralling costs and funding are big dilemmas.

The gap between funding and costs is growing and by 2020, the deficit is estimated to be in the region of £20bn.

How do you close the gap?

There are different philosophies:

Top down – cost management/cutting
Bottom up – increase operational efficiency i.e. providing more care for the same resources
Transformation Nous subscribes to the second philosophy and they believe the area that needs focussing on the most is the Emergency Pathway. There is a growing realisation of the need to fix emergency care otherwise you will not be able to provide more care.

HOW DO YOU CHANGE CAREER?
Forget what you know and be prepared to start from scratch!

You do have transferrable skills:

  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Client Care
  • Leadership

The first of these two skills are core consulting skills.

Going into Problem Solving in a bit more depth. It is the:

ability to think analytically in a conceptual and numerical environment

You have to be able to break down a problem into parts and drivers, understand what affects each driver and solve the problem.
That’s not enough by itself – you then have to be able to tell a robust story in 5 slides in a way that your client will understand!

Consulting is inductive – you have an answer and then you work backwards by crunching the numbers.

WHAT IS YOUR WORKING WEEK LIKE?
A typical project length is 6 weeks.

It depends what phase of a project you are working on.

Diagnostic projects – this involves data crunching and intense problem solving. So you’ll be about 50% in the office and 50% onsite.
Design period
Full implementation – this is usually about 80% onsite and 20% in the office.

The hours are long; especially when onsite – you’ll be in a hotel and probably working late. And you must be prepared for lots of Travel.

CHALLENGES OF THE TRANSITION

  • How to portray yourself to clients
  • Analysis – using excel to model and crunch numbers and then put it in a meaningful way
  • How to present information in a way that makes sense to the client i.e. what is really important here? What’s my single page story?

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BOUTIQUE V BIG FIRM
Andreas believes that it’s easier to be the best in a very niche area and to have a geographical focus (in their case hospitals in SE London and the Midlands).

If you’re not sure about what type of consulting you want to do, it is better to be a generalist at a bigger firm.

However, if you know that healthcare consulting is your area of interest, consider a smaller firm and do your due diligence on them. Find out exactly what they are doing, what clients they work for, how quickly you can progress etc.

For some, they just instinctively prefer small companies because they don’t want to feel like they’re a cog in a huge system and they like the lack of hierarchy and opportunities that a small company can present to them.

WHO ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?
Doctors who:

  • can take ego out of the equation and learn what they have to
  • have the humility to start from scratch
  • can influence
  • have the drive
  • have people skills

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