AsianScientist (Feb. 7, 2023) — Amid rising costs and the emergence of novel diseases, the global management of the healthcare sector is becoming increasingly complex and challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the shortcomings of healthcare organizations in many countries, highlighting the need for business acumen and skills to bring about redesign and systemic rethink to improve healthcare performance and access.
Strategic management and leadership is pivotal in any organization and sector, and healthcare is no exception. While frontline staff are the sector’s essential workers, the delivery of quality healthcare also requires expertise in policy, governance, finance, economics and management. However, the sector’s workforce primarily comes from a clinical background with minimal (if any) business training.
“Over 70 percent of the global workforce that runs, evaluates, manages and leads the healthcare sector does not have formal business qualifications,” said Francesco Paolucci, Health Economics Professor at the Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle (UoN), Australia.
“To navigate the sector and be ahead of the curve, you need multiple skills from business, including economics, analytics, management, leadership, finance and governance,” he added. “These skills help improve our understanding of current issues and challenges and empower us to strategize and implement much needed structural design adjustments to modernize and enable healthcare systems to respond to contemporary health needs.”
In response to the sector’s own growing demand for health leadership expertise, UoN launched the Master of Health Economics, Management and Policy in Australia in 2021. On 7 December 2022, this program was launched by the Newcastle Australia Institute of Higher Education (Newcastle Australia)—a wholly owned entity of UoN—in Singapore through two events.
The first event was organized by the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) and saw Prof Paolucci delivering an insightful talk on “Healthcare Systems Transformations—International Experiences and Implications for Singapore”. The second event was a hybrid seminar and panel discussion on healthcare workforce sustainability and productivity, with the panelists being Prof Paolucci; Mr Michael DiRienzo, Chief Executive of Hunter New England Health; and Dr Alexander Thomas, Founder and President of the Association of Healthcare Providers of India.
The Master of Health Economics, Management and Policy delivers 12 comprehensive modules via blended learning, ranging from Health Economics and Finance to Healthcare Data Analytics. The program focuses on building competencies in healthcare management and leadership, equipping graduates with the fundamentals of healthcare law and economics, policy and governance, data analytics, stakeholder communication, and decision-making.
“The idea of the program is to develop and train a workforce that has a diverse skill set to cut through the complexities in healthcare and be ready to tackle emerging business and social challenges,” explained Prof Paolucci.
The one-of-a-kind program adopts a multidisciplinary curriculum that combines theoretical approaches with real-world projects. It is offered part-time in Singapore, and can be completed in 16 months.
“Students with a bachelor’s degree in any field are eligible to apply for the master’s program. In the absence of a bachelor’s degree, we also consider work experience for admission,” described Prof Paolucci.
A testament to the quality of the program is its list of accreditations, which include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM). UoN is now also in the process of obtaining a fourth accreditation for the program.
“We could be the only program globally with four accreditations. We ensure our students receive priority access to all relevant courses, training, opportunities, seminars and interactions with large healthcare organizations in Asia-Pacific,” added Prof Paolucci.
A valuable feature of the master’s program is the opportunity for students to interact, learn from and build connections with global healthcare leaders. The program’s strong industry links stem from its affiliation with the Value in Health Economics and Policy (VHEP) group, a cross-faculty and multi-institutional network of academics, practitioners and researchers headed by Prof Paolucci at UoN.
According to Prof Paolucci, industry and international connectedness is the key advantage of the program. With direct access to the university’s vast network of partners from the health sector and other institutions, students can learn from the best in the field locally and internationally, broadening both their knowledge and career prospects.
For students in Singapore, the program presents an affordable opportunity to leverage the advantages that UoN—one of the world’s top 200 universities based on the QS World University Rankings 2023—has to offer without the need to go abroad. Study grants are also available for individual applicants.
Furthermore, Newcastle Australia will be offering 12 annual study grants over the next three years through industry collaborations and is on the lookout for potential partners. This initiative would be particularly beneficial for participating organizations to help their employees advance their career.
Healthcare is a fast-growing sector in Singapore, with national healthcare spending increasing yearly. It is estimated to account for nine percent of the nation’s gross domestic product by 2030. Newcastle Australia’s launch of the Master of Health Economics, Management and Policy is timely as the government unveiled Healthier SG in September 2022, a multi-year plan to reform the country’s healthcare system.
Singapore’s focus on healthcare indicates a positive career outlook in this sector. Graduates of the master’s program will be well-positioned to take on middle to senior management roles in various settings, including regulatory bodies, hospitals, integrated care organizations and medical devices and pharmaceutical companies.
Application for the first intake of the Master of Health Economics, Management and Policy in Singapore is now open. For more information on the program, visit the Newcastle Australia website or contact them here.
Source: Newcastle Australia ; Images: Newcastle Australia
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.
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