When Dr Swapnil Kharnare (31) completed his MBBS from KJ Somaiya Medical College in 2000, he wanted to become a paediatrician.
However, after working as a resident doctor for two years, he found a new calling. The Mahim resident signed up for the Masters in Health Administration (MHA) at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar.
Five years after trading the scalpel for administrative work, Kharnare is now the manager of emergency services at PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim.
“I realised that doctors are needed to run the show in hospitals. So I decided to go in for administration and bring the viewpoint of a medical practitioner to it,” he said. He added that the administration course helped him make emergency services more patient-friendly.
According to an estimate by Assocham and Yes Bank, the healthcare industry in the country is expected to touch $77 billion by 2012.
Experts foresee a demand for healthcare management professionals and people with both medical and management skills would definitely have an edge over the others. Hoping to tap the trend, two management institutes introduced a healthcare administration last month.
“A doctor who has done a course in health administration will definitely be a strong candidate for an administrative post. He would be able to balance the viewpoint of the patient, the doctors and the hospital administration,” said Colonel (retd.) M. Masand, chief executive officer of Jaslok Hospital.
“A doctor has to study for a number of years before they can establish a successful practice,” said Vijay Moza, chairman of Clinical Research Education and Management Academy in Andheri, which is offering an MBA in healthcare.
Though MBBS is not a pre-requisite for the course, Moza expects 30 per cent of the students to be doctors.
Better pay, fixed work hours, no emergency duty and less stress are some of the others perks pushing doctors to switch sides.
“The course teaches you about organisational behaviour, the behaviour patterns of employees, health policies and health structures in various countries,” said Dr Preeti Goraksha, who completed the course from TISS in 2003.
“With increasing privatisation of healthcare services in the country, the industry is looking to match international standards. This can only be achieved when the person has a good technical knowledge and knows how to run an organisation,” said Rajiv Verma, of the Institute of Clinical Research India, which launched a MHA course in association with the University of South Carolina last week.