Why is management important in health care? Skip to main content
Why is management important in health care?
By Prof Renata Schoeman, Stream coordinator of the MBA in Health Care Leadership

By Prof Renata Schoeman, Stream coordinator of the MBA in Health Care Leadership

Health care is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. All health care systems, whether public or private, face the challenge of sustainability. Costs have risen due to demographic changes (e.g. an ageing population, the increase in non-communicable diseases, but also the ongoing HIV/AIDS challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa) as well as technological developments to meet the expectations and needs of the patient population. The recent economic challenges and the Covid-19 pandemic have increased the challenge the health care industry is facing. Maintaining funding levels that are appropriate to the technology innovation curve, the demographic-epidemiological curve, and citizen expectations is an unprecedented challenge for nearly all health systems (Lega, Prenestini & Spurgeon, 2013).

Becoming an effective health care leader

Alyson (2016) said, “Behind every great hospital or medical practice are health care managers who keep things running.” To be an effective health care manager, deep knowledge and insight are required – not only in clinical aspects but also in other spheres such as business and finances. But management skills are not enough. To bring effective, efficient and equitable services to patients and other stakeholders, and to thrive in the dynamic, complex and diverse health care field, and other stakeholders, health care leadership is crucial.

Health care leaders should be excellent communicators. They need to be able to relay information between highly specialised health care providers, health service users, and funders, and to foster collaborative relationships between multiple stakeholders. Health care leaders should also have a sound understanding of systems and policies, and how to plan, coordinate and deliver the most effective and efficient services. Societies around the world are pressuring health care providers to reduce costs, while stakeholders are seeking improvements in the quality of and access to services. This movement drives the shift to value-based health care (the interplay between cost, quality and outcome). Health care leaders should have excellent conceptual, technical and interpersonal skills.

Understanding modern technologies

In a review of 37 studies, Lega et al (2012) found that the performance of health care systems and organisations correlates with management practices, leadership, manager characteristics, and cultural attributes that are associated with managerial values and approaches. There is a need to establish a system of leadership that has the ability to apply modern organisational techniques to successfully deliver maximum health care benefits to the population. Recent developments and the effectiveness of modern technologies make health care very sophisticated today. A good understanding of these technologies is crucial for health care leaders.

Consider the University of Stellenbosch’s Business School’s MBA in Health Care Leadership. Through the core modules of Value-based Health Care, Health Care Finance, and Health Systems and Policies, the elective module in Health Care Innovation, the International Study Module, and a research project in the domain of health care, students will be equipped with a thorough understanding and the skills needed to practice health care management and leadership.

With all Stellenbosch Business School programmes from 2021, it is offered via Stellenbosch Business School’s immersive and flexible Blended Learning format. If you are someone who is interested in pursuing this MBA feel free to contact Stellenbosch Business School for more information on the programme.

Reference:Lega, F., Prenestini, A., Spurgeon, P. (2013). Is Management Essential to Improving the Performance and Sustainability of Health Care Systems and Organizations? A Systematic Review and a Roadmap for Future Studies. Value in Health, 16(1): S46-S51.

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