Interview

“Health and Hospital managers will be in great demand” : Dr. V.K. Singh, Institute of Health Management Research (IHMR)

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Established in 1984 in Jaipur, Institute of Health Management Research (IHMR) is the first of its kind in India, with attention solely focused on health systems management. It is a premier institute in health management education, training, research, programme management and consulting in the health sector including Hospitals and Healthcare IT. IHMR has two centers at Bangalore and Delhi.

eHealth spoke to Surgeon Rear Admiral (Retd.) Dr. V.K. Singh, Director, International Institute of Health Management Research, Delhi, to know about the recent developments at IIHMR and the changing role of health and hospital managers in health care industry. Dr Singh is on advisory board of many hospitals and visiting faculty as well as examiner of many reputed institutes and universities.

Q. Tell us about the changing role of health and hospital managers in Indian health care industry?

A. According to WHO there is a lack of awareness  in healthcare industry of developing nations about the management techniques to optimise the available resources. However, the health industry is slowly recognising the benefits of health management and in the coming years we will witness a huge demand of hospital and health managers in hospitals, public health and rural India.

Seeing the lack of interest among doctors to work in public health, the government of India has established four Indian Institute of Public Health across the country under the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). These institutes offer Masters in Public Health (MPH) and doctoral programmes in various public health disciplines for medicos as well as non-medicos.

The other sector from where the huge demand would come is rural India. The future focus would be on rural India which we can make out from this year’s health budget: the lion’s share of health budget is allocated to the National Rural Health Mission i.e.

Rs. 12,070 crore. Here again health and hospital managers from non-clinical background would be in great demand for the simple reason that doctors often hesitate to get into the non-clinical side of healthcare services.

Q.  Does the job profile of a medico and a non-medico differ after taking an MBA in hospital and health management?

A. Health and hospital management system has continued with the modification from time to time. Initially, only doctors were eligible for the specialisation in Hospital and Health Management. Gradually, non-medicos also started entering this domain. Today at the top level for the job of clinical director or chief medical officer only an MBBS is hired, as the job requires him/her to discuss issues related to clinical protocol and patient’s safety. For the support services managers from non-clinical background are preferred as they are more competent to manage administrative services than clinicians.  

Q. How is IIHMR different from other institutes?

A. Most of the institutes offer a number of management courses, and health and hospital management forms a part of them. However, IIHMR is  the only institute in India solely focused on health system management and dedicated to the improvement in standards of health through better management of health care. 

Q. Could you tell us about the new courses at IIHMR?

A. Currently, IIHMR offers a two-year full-time postgraduate programme in Health Management and Hospital Management. Seeing the growth of Health IT in India we have introduced specialisation in Health IT Management this year.

We have already launched an online certificate course in Project Management with specialisation in healthcare. We are also launching in April 2009 an advance diploma course in Pharmacovigilance and Clinical Research in collaboration with the University College London, U.K, and Uppsala Monitoring Centre of Sweden. 

We are planning a weekend certificate course in  Healthcare Finance and Insurance for working professionals and  would also launch a diploma in Healthcare Facility Management and Hospital Designing.

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