Digital technology is taking the healthcare industry by storm. Mobile fitness apps, wearable devices and big data are revolutionizing a sector traditionally characterized by outdated processes.
Maggie Woloszyn, a part-time MBA student at UWA Business School, works as a senior project officer at Western Australia’s Royal Perth Hospital. She thinks that digital solutions could remedy the healthcare system’s ills.
While Maggie has enjoyed a long and successful career in the industry — in Australia and the UK — an MBA has opened her eyes to possibilities she never knew existed.
After graduating, Maggie (pictured below) wants to enter the digital healthcare space and tackle the industry’s many challenges, through innovation.
What is the future for the healthcare industry?
Competition will come from unfamiliar places.
Already, there are thousands of companies capitalizing on changing health behaviors. Health and fitness apps, wearable devices, real-time dashboards — these are the blockbuster drugs of the future.
When people think of healthcare organizations, they often think of stark hospital wards, overcrowded emergency departments and busy GP clinics. If we switch our thinking from clinical care to health outcomes or health behaviors, then an entirely new set of markets and opportunities open up.
What are your career plans?
I am keen to explore opportunities where I can test my business skills in the digital healthcare space.
I would like to learn how things are done differently around the world: to work overseas and see how organizations are tackling healthcare challenges through innovation, new technologies and clever business models.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at UWA?
I wanted to develop my business skills and satiate my hunger for continual learning.
I was confident that UWA’s MBA, with its world-renowned lecturers and connections to industry leaders, would deliver to my expectations.
What are the challenges for healthcare in Western Australia?
The objectives here are no different to the rest of the world: boost patient outcomes, reduce costs and improve patient experience. But the path taken to achieve these aims is stymied by dinosaur IT systems, tightened budgets and misguided efforts to preserve the status quo.
One of the greatest challenges is improving communication between healthcare providers and consumers — something that is woefully under-prioritized in our expensive and inefficient healthcare models.
What role will digital technology play in overcoming such challenges?
There is no silver bullet, but I do think tangible solutions lie in digital healthcare.
In an era of data saturation, interfaces to improve communication between providers and patients are no longer a pipeline dream for healthcare organizations. Development of sophisticated patient relationship management software is fast becoming a booming industry.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to work in healthcare?
There has never been a more exciting time to be in the healthcare industry and, with the digital era in full swing, the future demand for MBAs looks healthy.
Healthcare needs all the talent possible and an MBA provides a comprehensive skillset for this.
I believe the trick is to understand the idiosyncrasies of healthcare without being shackled by them. If you want to make a difference, there’s no better place than healthcare.
How have you profited from your MBA experience so far?
It’s been an unsurpassable experience.
Last year, I attended a boardroom lunch at Wesfarmers, one of Australia’s largest listed public companies. This year, I’m off to Germany on a summer exchange program.
To date, the UWA MBA has shown me a world of business possibilities that I never knew existed.