What Is Healthcare Consulting and Why Is It Important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Healthcare consultants are essential to organisations because they are highly trained and deeply knowledgeable experts who are capable of providing high-quality advice. These specialists in healthcare policies work to identify problems within the field and provide creative solutions. Understanding the role and importance of healthcare consultants can help you determine if this is a career you'd like to examine further. In this article, we explain what healthcare consulting is, discuss the duties and responsibilities and analyse the qualifications needed to succeed in this career.

What is healthcare consulting?

Healthcare consulting is the process of advising companies within the health sector on how best to grow their business while maintaining customer and patient care. Healthcare consultants are employees that are highly valued by medical-related organisations because they help the companies save time and resources. Typically, these medical consultants work with administrators and executives to identify problems within the organisation and offer pragmatic solutions.

Who do healthcare consultants work with?

Healthcare consultants can work in a variety of organisations, ranging from hospitals to pharmaceutical companies. They can either be recruited as a permanent employee of a company, acting as an analyst or consultant, or they may work for a multitude of medical-related businesses through the medium of an external consulting company.

They may work with a wide array of coworkers and higher-level employees. They can also work with the company's administrators and executives, such as the vice president. Alternatively, healthcare consultants sometimes work directly with care providers, such as doctors and nurses. Healthcare consultants have many career options available to them because the medical industry is so diverse. Here are some examples of sectors they can choose from:

  • Hospitals

  • Government agencies

  • Health insurance companies

  • Private clinics

  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Nursing homes

  • Biotech companies

Types of healthcare consultants

Depending on which sector the healthcare consultant works in, the scope of their job typically differs accordingly. For example, a consultant working in the private sector has different tasks and challenges to overcome as opposed to one who works in the public sector. These are some examples of the types of healthcare consultants that exist:

  • Behavioural healthcare consultants

  • Medical consultants

  • Healthcare IT consultants

  • Healthcare management consultants

  • Independent healthcare consultants

  • Healthcare strategy consultants

  • Healthcare business consultants

Benefits of a healthcare consulting career

Becoming a healthcare consultant gives you a significant amount of flexibility. Depending on your level of experience and skills, you can choose if you wish to work full-time or part-time. You may also choose what medical sector you wish to specialise in. Furthermore, becoming a healthcare consultant provides you with the opportunity to choose self-employment. Working as an independent healthcare consultant allows you to choose where and when you want to work, what rates to charge and which contracts to accept.

What does a consultant do in healthcare?

Healthcare consultants are expert analysts whose main role is to consult medical-related organisations on their business operations. Some common duties and responsibilities of a healthcare consultant include:

  • Improving the organisation's efficiency

  • Improving the infrastructure

  • Reducing costs and increasing profit levels

  • Identifying problems and offering creative solutions

  • Ensuring patient safety

  • Improving customer satisfaction

The role of a healthcare consultant depends on which sector they're employed in. Their specialisation therefore determines what their job looks like on a daily basis. Here's an overview of some of the different specialisations available to healthcare consultants and their individual tasks:

Technology consulting

The importance and influence of technology in the healthcare industry is constantly growing. Therefore, medical-related organisations require healthcare consultants who understand the challenges and implementation of technology. Their roles include evaluating the organisation's need for various technological systems, advising on IT applications and balancing the need for technological advancement with an emphasis on maintaining patient care.

Related: What Is an IT Consultant? (With Tips and Steps To Become One)

Strategy consulting

Healthcare consultants who provide strategic consulting concentrate on the development and growth of a company. They help healthcare organisations develop a plan according to their goals, vision and mission. Furthermore, they advise these organisations on their business plans and rectify past mistakes. Their duties include assessing the organisation's finances, future projections and past performance.

Marketing consulting

Healthcare organisations rely on marketing to maintain a steady flow of patients and remain competitive in the industry. Healthcare marketing consultants are therefore highly valued because they aid organisations in developing and implementing marketing strategies. Their duties include assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of current strategies, determining the necessary marketing requirements and creating innovative solutions to an organisation's marketing concerns.

Related: How To Become a Management Consultant in 6 Steps

HR and operations consulting

This type of healthcare consultant specialises in creating a positive work environment and managing the hiring and onboarding of new employees. The demand for this type of consulting is constantly growing as organisations realise the significant influence such consultants can have on the performance of a company. The responsibilities of healthcare consultants specialising in HR and operations include providing guidance on diversity efforts and developing hiring strategies.

Related: What Is an Onboarding Process for New Employees?

Why is healthcare consulting important?

Healthcare consulting is important because it's responsible for balancing a medical-related organisation's patient care with their business operations. This lucrative area of work is increasing in significance as the population ages.

Because the medical field is constantly evolving, healthcare consultants are important because, while they help companies solve the usual challenges facing the industry, they're also able to advise their employers on how best to manage increasing patient loads and how to overcome new obstacles as they emerge. Healthcare consultants are essential because, having a higher level of business expertise than the average employee, they are able to provide creative, unique solutions to an organisation's problems.

What do you need to be a healthcare consultant?

While there's no fixed requirement to becoming a healthcare consultant, employers typically prefer those who have completed a higher-level education, certification programmes or specialised training. These are some general qualifications needed to become a healthcare consultant:

Education

Becoming an entry-level healthcare consultant typically requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in public health, human resources, business or another related field. Employers seek candidates who have completed coursework in subjects such as ethics, marketing and healthcare systems. Additionally, candidates may consider completing a master's degree to increase their employability. While it's not a requirement, employers often prefer healthcare consultants with a master's degree in healthcare management or administration because of the expert knowledge these degrees provide and the dedication it shows.

Certification

Certifications are not necessary to becoming a healthcare consultant, but they show commitment to your profession. Certifications, such as the Practising Management Consultant (PMC) certification, demonstrates a healthcare consultant's competency and credibility. Their knowledge is kept updated because certificates require the recipient to continuously partake in development activities, such as conferences and courses. These are also excellent networking opportunities.

Training and Experience

Employers usually provide on-the-job training for new healthcare consultants. While training is provided, employers often appreciate previous experience. By interning, prospective healthcare consultants can gain the necessary experience and specialised knowledge of their preferred field.

Skills

Here are some of the core skills that help healthcare consultants succeed in their industry:

  • Critical thinking: Healthcare consultants are charged with analysing the business needs of a company and balancing them with patient care. Therefore, it's important for consultants to be able to think critically and process large amounts of information and data.

  • Communication: Because healthcare consultants work closely with other professionals, strong communication skills are essential. This allows them to understand their clients and clearly communicate their ideas and advice.

  • Problem solving: A large part of working as a healthcare consultant involves preventing and solving a company's problems. It's therefore critical for them to be innovative problem solvers who are able to face challenges as they occur.

  • Financial expertise: One of the main roles of a healthcare consultant is to improve an organisation's finances. By having a strong foundation in financial knowledge, they can create more informed financial solutions by understanding the company's budgets and financial statements, ultimately saving the company money and increasing its revenue.

  • Adaptability: The medical industry is constantly evolving, meaning it's necessary for health consultants to stay up to date with the current changes. Adaptability helps them generate innovative solutions to the modern challenges faced by healthcare organisations.

Related: 9 Consulting Skills To Be a Successful Consultant

How much do healthcare consultants make?

The average salary of a healthcare consultant is $4,049 per month. There are several factors that can influence how much healthcare consultants make. The type of company that the consultant is employed by typically has a significant influence on the salary. The healthcare consultant's level of education and experience are also determining factors.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Explore more articles