MS in Healthcare Systems Management - New Graduate Degree for Fall 2008
In this interview, Sanchoy Das, a professor in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, discusses the master’s degree. Das is an innovator who has created new designs that make the manufacturing process more productive. He has also developed flexible manufacturing solutions for small and medium-sized companies.
What does this new degree focus on?
The focus of the master’s program in Healthcare Systems Management is to educate students how to analyze, implement and manage the operational components of our health care system. The program is designed to create health care managers who have the technical expertise needed to efficiently run a health care office. This includes hospitals, nursing facilities, clinics, home care delivery and pharmacies. The curriculum introduces students to management concepts and tools that will both reduce the costs of health care and increasing its quality.
U.S. health care expenditures amounted to $1.8 trillion in 2004, making it the largest industry in the nation. The health care environment is increasingly competitive and financially driven. As described in a report released by the National Academy of Engineering, tremendous advances must be made to transform the healthcare system. The best way to do this, the report says, is by creatively integrating engineering and information technologies to create new care delivery technologies. We've developed this program to produce graduates who can achieve this integration and radically improve our health care system.
What kind of jobs are you training students to work in?
There are a variety of employers in the health care industry that are eager to hire people with strong analytical backgrounds who also understand business management. Graduates of this program will work in project management, process analysis, information management, facilities management or resources planning. Companies where our graduates might work include health-insurance providers, medical research companies, multi-hospital systems, community health centers, pharmaceutical firms, federal or state agencies and consulting companies.
What do your students learn?
Students in the Healthcare Systems program learn how to reduce the cost health care while improving its quality. There are a variety of tools and methods, based on the principles of industrial engineering and engineering management, which students will learn to use to achieve that dual goal. For example, one of the new courses developed for this degree is Introduction to Healthcare Delivery Systems. Students will be taught how to define and model health care as a system and then identify and analyze both cost and quality drivers. Another important tool that they learn is project management, which trains them to efficiently deliver new and complex services to the patients.
Do they study the information systems used in hospitals and other health care offices?
Healthcare Information Systems is a vast field that is expected to improve the efficiency of our health care. In this program students will study how the latest techniques in information technology can be used to improve the management of our health care centers. The curriculum will introduce them to analytical frameworks and methods that can be used to evaluate healthcare information systems and plan for better systems.
What kind of student might be interested in applying for this degree?
Typically, students will have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, information technology, science, math, or some other technical field. Employees who’ve been working in health care or a related organization for a few years and are looking for more education to advance their careers would be good candidates for this program.
What is the job market like for a person with this master's degree? Is the health care profession growing?
The U. S. Department of Labor says that the health care industry will grow by 25 percent over the next three years. That is making for a tremendous demand for qualified professionals in the health care management field. And those who understand both the technical and the managerial side of the health care industry, which this degree teaches students, will be in especially high demand.
(by Robert Florida, University Web Services)