Managing Operations in Health Care
There are currently few other industries in the U.S. with as much disruptive change coming to it as the health care industry: technological advances, the implementation of new laws, an increased demand for quality and accountability, managing the effects of an aging population, cultural and industry trends toward healthy living and workplace wellness, and much more. Managing operations at the clinical level can be a daunting task!
Ben Pries is a Specialty Operations Manager for HealthPartners. He oversees operations at six clinics and has 65 staff members who report to him. Ben’s responsibilities include managing clinic priorities and goals, identifying trends, problem-solving areas of concern, and implementing patient-centered goals. Concordia’s MBA – Health Care program gave Ben not only the connections he needed to learn about and secure his position – members of his cohort told him about HealthPartners and the operations position – the program helped Ben build the skills needed for success in his rapidly moving career.
“Before the MBA-health care program, I didn’t have the big-picture thinking skills that are so crucial in my job,” said Ben. “I’ve learned how to take a step back and look at processes, to make changes before we have an issue.”
Students coming out of MBA and other graduate level programs at Concordia continually say that dedicated faculty and the cohort model of learning make all the difference in their career growth, a sentiment that Ben also shares.
“When I went through an undergraduate program at a different school, there were some professors I liked and some that I didn’t,” he recalls. “I can’t say the same about Concordia’s faculty – they made a profound impact on my learning and personal beliefs. Not one professor acted like they know everything, they encouraged us to learn from each other and our experiences, to be open to learning from all directions. This is much like the workplace, where you can learn from everyone if you’re open to listening.”
Learning is dynamic and far-reaching when a group of talented professionals stay together for the duration of their program, giving and taking nuggets of professional knowhow along the way. And in careers like Ben’s that require wide ranges of expertise, you can’t just learn from textbooks.
Ben was hesitant to start the healthcare MBA program two years ago. He had a wife, two young kids and a career already competing for his time and energy, and he was very reluctant to step back into a classroom. But as he prepared his tassel and hood for the 2014 graduation ceremony, he reflected on how things have changed: a new career, a confidence of skills to manage the intense demands of the job, daily contact with cohort members who he now calls close friends, and an ability to think more critically in all aspects of his life.
As he crossed the stage to shake hands with President Ries, he looked out at his family and think one thing.
“This was the best decision I’ve ever made.”