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MCPHS Launches School of Healthcare Business, MBA in Healthcare Management

  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) recently launched the School of Healthcare Business, which offers a number of brand-new programs designed to empower leaders across the healthcare field.

    In support of the University’s commitment to preparing healthcare professionals for successful careers, the School of Healthcare Business will be home to the newly launched Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management program.

    “Looking back over the University’s nearly 200-year history, you can see that the fabric that we have woven through time has always included threads of innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership in health professions,” said Michael Spooner, MHA, EdD, Senior Director of Online Healthcare Education & Academic Innovation. “The scope of leadership, technology, and the ever-changing healthcare environment have evolved over time, creating a perfect opportunity for our newly launched school of healthcare business.”

    MCPHS, which produces the top earners in New England, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, has a long history of offering innovative degree programs focused on launching and advancing its graduates’ careers.

    “Today, we stand ready to prepare students to tackle the challenges of healthcare by engaging them in innovative programs that will help meet the demands of practice and give them the business knowledge to support that practice,” said Spooner.

    We sat down with Professor Spooner to learn more about the School of Healthcare Business and the MBA in Healthcare Management program.

    MCPHS recently announced the launch of the School of Healthcare Business and a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management program. How does this new offering align with our nearly 200-year history of preparing healthcare professionals for successful careers?

    MCPHS first opened its doors when the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, was in office, and the healthcare of the time would be unrecognizable as such by today’s standards. MCPHS has been in existence for nearly 200 years because of its dedication to health professions and consistent innovation, and this longevity demonstrates the importance of health professions education, the value of the University, and the outstanding achievements of our students and alumni.

    Tell us about the newly launched MBA in Healthcare Management program.

    The MBA in Healthcare Management is designed for those who are interested in pursuing leadership opportunities in a variety of healthcare-related sectors, including payer and provider organizations, nonprofits, and biotechnology and biomedical device organizations.

    Tell us a little more about that.

    The design of the MBA program centers on building knowledge of the healthcare environment, understanding the business needs of healthcare organizations, and establishing leaders who can interpret and facilitate change across the broad spectrum of healthcare organizations, such that we can deliver on the promise of technology and growing expanse of knowledge. There is ample need for business leaders who understand healthcare and who have the skills required to deliver and support the capabilities of the organizations that comprise the many facets of the most advanced healthcare system in the world.

    Healthcare professionals have many options available to them, including earning a traditional MBA. Why should healthcare professionals consider an MBA program focused on healthcare management specifically?

    The MBA in healthcare management focuses on the skills future leaders will need at the center of the operations, decision-making, and management of a value-driven healthcare organization. The complexities of healthcare organizations, the regulatory environment, and the pace of change demand strong business skills; this program focuses on developing the skills required for success through interdisciplinary partnerships and student-centered teaching.

    Which types of healthcare professionals should consider earning an MBA in Healthcare Management?

    The answer here is simple: every healthcare professional. Given the complexities of the environment and the pace of change, it is essential that all leaders be aware of the healthcare environment; to know the value equation and understand the culture, the operations, and the collaborative teams that make it work; and to make informed decisions that maintain a focus on the patients and populations that we serve.

    In your view, what is the biggest difference between the MBA in Healthcare Management program and the Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program at MCPHS? Why should a student consider one over the other?

    The biggest difference is quite subtle: the MHA is focused on managing the delivery of healthcare, and the MBA addresses the financial aspects of the healthcare organization. It is a slight but significant distinction. As healthcare changes and evolves, the roles of both MHA and MBA graduates are increasingly important and intertwined in ensuring that healthcare organizations are financially viable and able to meet the needs of diverse patient populations.

    Though both programs can focus on the transactional and the transformational, they have different elements. Think about the supply chain as an example: a bag of normal saline. The MBA may be looking at the cost of the inventory, while the MHA may be looking at how the inventory location or replenishment affects the delivery of care.

    What is your advice for professionals considering pursuing an advanced degree in business?

    My advice to healthcare professionals is that regardless of your choice of program or path, healthcare requires intimate knowledge of the healthcare environment and recognition of the constant challenges of change and reform. In the MBA and MHA programs, it is our obligation to teach future leaders and develop change agents; students and healthcare professional alike must be ready for the challenges of complex environments and continuous change. In healthcare, leaders and professionals need to demonstrate a keen understanding of strategy and the ability to align that strategy with the organizational mission and vision. My advice here is that we must also be able to articulate and inspire change tangibly. All healthcare professionals need to understand the value of evidence in practice and to maintain a vision of the patient at the center of care. Finally, we also must recognize that there is a need for continuous professional development, and we should encourage curiosity that spurs lifelong learning. I believe this is part of our duty to the patients and organizations that we serve.

    Why do you recommend an MCPHS education?

    There are many reasons! First, we are flexible; the online course delivery allows for professionals from across the country and the world to come together in an interactive program. Second, we are a health professions organization; we represent the changing scope of collaborative professional practice in our programs, and we impart that in our coursework. Third, we support our students; where and when it is needed, we provide support, whether via the Writing Center or online tutoring. The impact of an MCPHS education is demonstrated through the success of our students.

    The School of Healthcare Business at MCPHS offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to jumpstart and advance the careers of professionals across the many sectors of the healthcare field, including payer and provider organizations, global health organizations and non-profits, and biotechnology and medical device companies.