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New MBA Programs Help Executives Inject Digital Tech Into Healthcare

Sector turns to top business schools for dose of innovation

Warwick Business School is set to launch a new DBA degree for senior health managers and executives — the latest sign that healthcare is turning to top business schools as the industry faces growing strain and pressure to innovate.

Wednesday’s announcement follows the launch earlier this month of a new healthcare MBA by the former chief executive of General Electric.  

Warwick’s course will seek to help executives futureproof their organizations in a volatile, uncertain and complex environment. Healthcare is being squeezed by a rapidly ageing global population and tightened health budgets.

The exclusive four or five year part-time course costs £60,000 and participants will study at WBS’ new luxury London location atop The Shard, the EU’s tallest building.

Christian Stadler, professor of strategic management and DBA program lead, said it will help organizations retain senior talent and harness business innovation.

“Instead of focussing on the more traditional, scholarly aspects of a doctoral degree, the DBA will teach you how to use the latest pioneering academic research to produce a practical solution to a challenge or opportunity,” he said.

He added that it will help healthcare execs to utilize new technologies being developed that operations are reluctant to implement. Leaders are increasingly having to grapple with digital tech like mobile apps, wearable devices, and data analytics. Several top business schools are edging these innovative themes into their healthcare programs.

“Healthcare managers and executives understand that IT needs to play a role in their overall healthcare strategy,” said Professor Jeremy Petranka at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “But what that role should be is still being defined.”

For example, healthcare sessions at UC Berkeley’s Haas School on technology are running as part of MBA electives, and cover areas including tech in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals sectors.

“So much in healthcare revolves around data and information,” said Kimberly MacPherson, associate director of health management at Haas School.

Fred Hagigi, professor in technology management and director of Global Health Initiatives at UCLA Anderson School of Management, said that the effect of IT on healthcare is a major area of focus at the Californian institution.

Elsewhere, Germany’s Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is injecting innovation management and technological progress into its health programs. “From a managerial point of view, it is a very difficult and challenging topic,” said Dr Rainer Sibbel, at Frankfurt’s Institute for International Health Management.

Also this month, the Jack Welch Management Institute at the US’s Strayer University announced a new online MBA pathway designed to help doctors confront urgent healthcare management challenges.

The Institute said growing cost pressures combined with technologies and the widespread availability of data, are demanding leaders who can navigate a highly ambiguous and quickly evolving economic and regulatory landscape.

Jack Welch, executive chairman and former CEO of GE, said the MBA will produce talent to “ignite and transform the healthcare industry”.

Other established healthcare management programs exist at George Washington University, Michigan Ross, Vanderbilt Owen, and Rice Jones business schools.

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