Adventures in Healthcare: Gaining the Competitive Advantage

Adventures in Healthcare: Gaining the Competitive Advantage

As a mountain climber, endurance cyclist, and competitive sailor, I am continually confronted with the challenges of an outdoor environment that is never static. To adapt, I have learned to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable” and to place a high reliance on training, planning, nutrition, and gear selection to give me an advantage.

Similarly, to survive and thrive in a healthcare industry that is continually evolving, you need to develop skills that give you a competitive advantage. A Healthcare MBA from the Jack Welch Management Institute is that edge.

Gaining a Competitive Edge in the Healthcare Industry

More than ever, healthcare needs leaders who are equipped to adapt and change at a moment’s notice.

Can you climb across a crevasse field with avalanche and ice fall hazards?

As a finance professor at the Jack Welch Management Institute, it is my job to equip students to do so, not from a mountaineering perspective (though I could likely do that, too) but from a healthcare leadership perspective. As the former Founder and CFO of Physician Surgery Centers, I oversaw financial affairs, construction management & budgeting, human resources, MIS, investor & vendor relations, and business development for the multi-million dollar organization. I saw then and continue to see now the challenges that face medical practitioners, healthcare administrators, and industry professionals today. They are balancing the bottom line and patient care. So, not only are they trying to climb across that crevasse field, but they are doing so with a patient that they need to carry to safety on their back.

How Saving Money, Saves Lives

“Saving Money, Saving Lives” is JWMI’s healthcare finance course. Candidly, like other JWMI “numbers” courses, it can be intimidating to students who lack financial acumen. But it’s all about perspective, and mine is to ensure the student experience is a successful one. That means making finance relevant regardless of a student’s exposure to the topic. Within this course, we explore the palpable tensions that exist between providing the best quality of care and being responsible stewards of the financial resources healthcare professionals must manage. Something that is not an either/or decision.

Our students examine real-world operational issues like eliminating errors, improving efficiency, and improving outcomes. The course is set up to provide the skills and tools that can leverage operational excellence as a competitive advantage. This course and the others within the concentration will make students better leaders and operators. Not just by helping students help their organization save money, but by also giving them the edge to deliver a better patient experience. JWMI’s patient-first curriculum is a core differentiator to all courses within JWMI’s Healthcare MBA Concentration.

Leading the Change

Financial literacy is just a portion of how we make this course relevant. To ensure there is a solid bridge between the concepts learned in class and their practical application, I task students each week to apply what they have learned in their position, regardless of their role. Whether they are on the front lines of patient care, serve as operational or financial managers, or work for pharmaceutical or medical equipment suppliers, each student will have the unique opportunity to test their learning in the real world and to share that experience and those results with their classmates. This shared learning experience among fellow healthcare professionals helps bring the courses to life. Along the way, and within each assignment, students practice and implement Jack Welch’s proven leadership lessons.

I can’t promise that at the end of their MBA journey, students will be equipped to sail through 40-knot winds during winter storms with frozen foredecks, but you will be able to develop and implement realistic strategic plans to optimize patient care and financial efficiency and to navigate the operational and bureaucratic challenges that come your way. The Jack Welch Healthcare MBA provides the knowledge and confidence that enables you to be agile and effective and to weather any storm.

About John Bennett

Professor of Financial Management II & Saving Money, Saving Lives

John Bennett is a former Army Airborne Ranger and CPA by trade who has spent time working for CPA firms, as an Internal Auditor with CIGNA auditing healthcare operations, and as a regional and corporate CFO for various healthcare delivery organizations. He has used his industry and entrepreneurial experience to host financial workshops for the Portland Development Commission’s Portland Challenge. John currently runs a business that makes weapons delivery systems for military high altitude jumps (HALO).

He has been teaching in higher education since 2004 with DeVry University and Keller Graduate School of Management. Courses taught include financial accounting, managerial cost accounting, managerial finance, auditing and governmental/NPO accounting. Additionally, John teaches CPA exam prep courses for Becker, healthcare accounting, economics and financial accounting for undergraduate and MBA students at Concordia University, and auditing and accounting classes at Eastern Oregon University. John is currently a doctoral student at George Fox University where he is pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration. His dissertation is focused on aligning professionally licensed staffing recruiting and retention practices at Rural Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) with their financial performance.

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