The types of services that healthcare consulting groups offer may be in any one specialization or in a variety of specializations, including consulting on strategy, I.T. and digitalization, financial, operations, human resources and talent management, research and development, marketing and sales, logistics, and healthcare regulations. Healthcare consulting companies provide their specialist advice to physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical device companies, research institutions, and healthcare insurance providers. According to a report by Zion Market Research, the largest market share in the healthcare consulting industry was in the financial consulting segment in 2018, and the strategy consulting segment is expected to grow quickly in the coming years.
The business management consulting organization Bain & Company provides healthcare-related organizations with solutions to various problems. The examples they give of their offerings indicate the types of services that healthcare consultants may provide, such as corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, commercial effectiveness and customer experience, digital transformation, advanced analytics, performance improvement, full-potential transformation, and organizational effectiveness. Bain & Company also provides advice to healthcare-related private equity funds.
Healthcare and pharmaceuticals consultants may work full time for a large management consulting organization that works in various industries. They may also work as independent consultants, hired by clients who seek third-party advice. Many hospitals and healthcare-related organizations aim to operate their businesses more efficiently, more economically, while continuing to deliver quality healthcare services. As described by Maryville University, “healthcare consultants research and analyze finances to spot strengths and weaknesses in a facility’s economic strategies, from clinical infrastructure to operational metrics. Once a consultant has identified these strengths and weaknesses, [they] can propose solutions to streamline economic processes. The goal behind these solutions is to help a facility utilize its budget as efficiently as possible and achieve the desired endgame of providing high-quality healthcare that improves patient outcomes… After a consultant has provided valuable insights, a facility may retain the consultant longer to help implement any suggested changes. Facilities may also bring consultants in to oversee a merger or acquisition and ensure a smooth transition.”
A bachelor’s degree, such as in healthcare practice management, is the minimum requirement for healthcare and pharmaceuticals consultants. Classes typically include studies in areas such as population health management, financial management within healthcare, and healthcare-specific technology and software. Consultants with a master’s degree often have the advantage in the job market. Some employers may also require that healthcare consultants hold a master’s degree in health administration. Master’s degree studies usually cover healthcare strategies such as marketing and economics, data management, data analytics and financial strategies, healthcare for the aging population, as well as up to one year of supervised administrative work in a hospital or other healthcare consulting environment. Many healthcare and pharmaceuticals consultants enter the field through internships while in college and also through entry-level positions such as associate healthcare analysts. After two to five years of experience, associates may become consultants. Those with up to 10 years of experience may become senior consultants, project leaders, engagement managers, or other such titles that indicate increasing levels of responsibility. Well-seasoned consultants who have more than 10 years of experience may become a principal or partner of the healthcare consulting organization for which they work.