What Is Healthcare Consulting?

It may seem really obvious, it’s all in the name but having worked in Healthcare Consulting for over a decade I think you might be surprised to learn it is probably much broader and contains more opportunities that you might first have imagined. 

In this article I’ll talk you through this in more detail so you can become more aware of the opportunities healthcare consulting brings.

 

What is Healthcare Consulting?

Broadly healthcare consulting is what you might think. It’s a specialised form of management consulting that focuses on helping healthcare organisations improve their efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability. I’ll qualify profitability as this may depend on the healthcare system you live in as I’m in the UK it is publicly funded so it is more managing the budgets and resources rather than trying to turn a profit like a traditional business.

Typically, as a healthcare consultant you will find yourself working with hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers to solve complex problems, optimise operations, and implement strategic changes. 

I’ve been working in this space of consulting for over a decade now after starting out in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. I’ve worked in large and small firms that have been dedicated to supporting healthcare organisations with their challenges and increasing pressures faced globally with aging populations and resource scarcity.

Whilst I am a specialist in data and analytics, I’ve had experiences performing discoveries and diagnostics to scope and evaluate opportunities, developed and delivered strategies, supported operational and clinical teams with hospital flow and supported National programs on performance, and efficiency across populations. 

I’ve worked in healthcare for a long time; however, I don't have a clinical background and that shouldn’t stop you exploring this area of consulting either if it is something that you want to explore. Having performed numerous roles I can now see the skills and opportunities available in healthcare are not entirely unique from other sectors so there is a lot that can be transferred from other experiences. 

 

Career Opportunities in Healthcare Consulting

The only real difference between healthcare consulting and other types of consulting is the setting and subject matter. It will offer you a range of career paths for professionals from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences

You might already have a clinical, administrative, or IT background in a provider of care looking to branch out into consulting or you might have developed a skillset in a completely different sector that would lend itself to supporting health organisations where you live there is a niche for you. 

Let’s explore some of the areas where consulting crosses into making a tangible impact on healthcare delivery.

consulting areas in healthcare consulting
  • Strategy Consulting: Healthcare organisations need strategy as much as every other type of organisation. They are often large and complex organisations and develop target operating models, organisational and service specific strategies. There has also been an increasing need for expertise in mergers and acquisitions as healthcare organisations look to seize on opportunities to scale to improve patient outcomes but also manage resources and costs more efficiently. 

  • Operations Consulting: There is a requirement across almost all healthcare systems to improve their daily operations, efficiency, and service delivery. Where consulting services are most required is in the identification and discovery of opportunities and the planning and execution of projects and programmes that can deliver on those opportunities.

  • IT Consulting: Is a more specialised form of consulting and tends to support the integration of technology solutions to improve healthcare services and data management across an organisation. This can be to improve existing systems and processes or to identify and on-board new systems from patient administration systems, specific clinical systems or data warehouses that consolidate organisational data more effectively.

  • Data and Analytics Consulting: This is a growth area across all consulting industries and healthcare is no exception. Organisations create a lot of data every day and having systems that can house and make available data is one thing but the effective use of data as an asset in decision making is an area that hasn’t always been the most exploited. Equally as technology moves on organisations will look to AI and data science much more as a potential solution that could support their delivery of care.

  • Financial Consulting: Finally, this type of consulting will exist as it does in every business and sector as healthcare organisations look to control costs, increase or maintain revenue, and financially plan the capacity required for the demand of services to ensure sustainability and meeting the needs of the population they serve.
     

What Skills and Experience Will I Need in Healthcare Consulting?

So, you can see that there are many areas where consulting services can be effective in supporting healthcare organisations. To expand on this to succeed in healthcare consulting the skills and experience you will require is a blend of industry knowledge, analytical skills, and soft skills. 

skills for healthcare consulting

It should be noted that previous expertise in healthcare can be a significant advantage, especially if you are a consultant operating on your own as organisations will look to you providing a practical understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the healthcare sector. 

If you don’t have this don’t worry as everyone has to start from somewhere and build up skills and experiences. You can also increase your healthcare knowledge by researching and understanding the healthcare systems, regulations, and trends in your own part of the world and use your own networks to find people in the field that could offer coaching and mentoring to help you.

As well as this to get into healthcare consulting then the key areas to develop and demonstrate are problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication.

With this in mind you can look to further build out your consulting skillset by focusing on the following areas: 

  • Analytical skills and the ability to identify, utilise and analyse complex data and turn it into meaningful insights that can be understood for different audiences across the organisation.

  • Communication is key in consulting, and you will be exposed to senior leaders, managers and clinical healthcare professionals so being excellent in both verbal and written communication is crucial when you are presenting findings and persuading stakeholders to take a different and unfamiliar path.

  • Project and program management are also key skills to develop as consulting engagements will often be scoped as projects and programmes and being able to manage them efficiently, from planning through to execution will become very valuable to you.

Healthcare consulting is a field ripe with opportunities for those enthusiastic and passionate about improving healthcare systems. To make a transition into it requires a commitment to continuous learning and excellence. As you build your career, focus on developing your consulting skillset and gaining experiences that lend themselves to this particular sector. 

Here are other specialized consulting areas that might interest you:

👉Public Sector Consulting
👉Financial Consulting
👉IT Consulting
👉Environmental Consulting

 

What Firms Offer Healthcare Consulting?

The final piece of the puzzle now you have a better idea of what healthcare consulting is, the opportunities within it and skills that you could develop is “which firms do I target?”. 

This is not an easy question to answer but I’ll try and break it down for you.

You may be aware there are several leading consulting firms that offer healthcare consulting as part of their offer set and are known for their expertise, global reach, and impact on healthcare innovation. 

These include firms like 

This is not an exhaustive list but gives you an idea of some of the bigger names in the industry that are associated with healthcare consulting work. The thing to note here is that not all of these firms have a dedicated healthcare focused team so doing some research into the projects they have done in this space would be useful if nothing else to see if the work they have or aspire to be doing matches what you are looking for. 

👉 Find more information about these firms in the Top Consulting Firms worldwide on PrepLounge. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and network in those teams to understand more as that could open up doors to opportunities or further guidance on how you can make a move into healthcare focused work. 

It is also not just the big firms that operate in this space. Whilst I have worked within the EY healthcare team I have also worked for smaller firms that you may never have heard of that are dedicated to providing healthcare consultancy services so don’t discount those from your search particularly if you are looking into specific areas of support like strategy or data and analytics consulting. 


There is so much opportunity in healthcare consultancy so wherever you are in your thought process know that if this is the path for you your work has the potential to shape the future of healthcare delivery and make the individuals who access these services lives better. I have been in healthcare consulting for many years now so if you're considering a career change in this area feel free to reach out to me as I can coach or mentor you with this career transition.

 

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adam

 Adam

           Experienced Consultant

           Over 12 years of consulting experience

           Accredited by the International Coaching Federation 


 

Adam has over 12 years of consulting experience predominantly in the data strategy, analytics and business development space in the public sector. He has worked within the big 4 at EY and have worked for startups and SMEs and therefore has a broad portfolio of work. 

 

  

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