A Career in Healthcare Consulting

Researching medical trends, implementing innovative applications, or creating medical educational material to help healthcare professionals, here is my experience on what a career in healthcare consulting is like.

Introduction

The healthcare sector has seen major restructuring and prioritisation changes from COVID-19 pandemic. With a strong push on digitalisation, patient safety and homecare.

Healthcare consulting focuses on providing expertise and solutions to healthcare-related clients; companies (pharma, biotech, etc.) and public bodies (hospitals, government, etc.). Some example activities are seen in the ‘Tackling projects’ section.

This is a passionate and challenging career from which you will see a direct impact of your work on the healthcare scene.

Example of healthcare market ad by Fresenius

Key Responsibilities

The role is project focused and your day-to-day activities may vary substantially. Typical roles within healthcare consultants include:

  • Project manager – status / schedules, organization, ensure client needs are met
  • Medical Writer – Research literature, educational content, scientific writing, report.
  • Analyst – online research, data analysis, creation of reporting systems
  • Developers – develop applications, websites, monitoring systems, etc.
  • Designers – educational content design, websites, videos, animations.

Degrees for healthcare consulting

  • Life science or Healthcare related backgrounds – bring medical and therapy knowledge required for most projects
  • Business or Economics backgrounds – strong in analysing consumer and business needs
  • Other STEM (development) and designers – creation of asset deliverables

Tackling projects

You will find all kinds of projects and some categories and examples include:

  • Scientific / market research – scientific results, health technology assessment, health care / therapy status, hospital work process, patient journey
  • Marketing / educational content development – scientific evidence, novel solutions, disease information, health policy updates, animations
  • Publications – scientific publications, media
  • Events – webinars, symposia, congresses, advisory councils, etc.
  • Development tools – budget impact tools, patient disease management applications, trending dashboard (recipes, tracking, etc.)

A common approach is:

Analyse needs -> Create action plan -> Develop solution -> Quality control -> Review


Tips for starting this career

  • Be comfortable working with others
  • Focus on specialising on what you’re good at
  • Internships – Find opportunities to experience healthcare consulting. There are many different types of consultancies with different expertise or offering multiple services, for example:
    • Market research & strategic
    • Pharma/Med Tech research & development
    • Web/app development service
    • Marketing & medical education
    • Healthcare operations & logistics

Try some Consulting case studies!

  • Case-study 1 – McKinsey example
  • Case-study 2 – BCG example
  • Case-study 3 – from Victor (open-ended, vascular access)
    • Background: Patients given intravenous medications are susceptible to vascular access-related complications, such as phlebitis, thrombosis, and infections, resulting in economic costs to patient and hospital health. A hospital aims to understand the estimated burden of vascular access-related complications, their causes, and the possible solutions they could implement.
    • Questions:
      • How would you investigate the economic health costs of vascular access complications in general and in the hospital?
      • What would your approach be in providing strategic recommendations for solutions and implementation?
    • Hints: literature, models, hospital research, evaluate the strengths / weaknesses / applicability of different solutions, implementation modelling)

How to solve case studies? Here are some tips: https://hackingthecaseinterview.thinkific.com/pages/healthcare-consulting-case-interviews


My experience

Background & Role

I joined Cogora as an Analyst in 2019, a healthcare media, market access and marketing consultancy.
My responsibilities included:

  • Conducting market research on trends in therapeutic areas & markets
  • Analysing data and communicate key results with strategic recommendations
  • Managing projects & collaborating with teams to deliver
  • Develop partnerships with clients, understanding their needs
  • (Unique to me in this company) Implementation of innovative digital tools in adapting to COVID-19

Key skills I have acquired

  • Project management: note taking, proposals, project strategy & organisation, resource management (time, personnel, budget)
  • Healthcare landscape: European markets process of health technology implementation, healthcare market insights (Vascular Access, Anaesthesia, Oncology, Allergy)
  • Data analysis: Excel VBA, Power BI, online tools (openprescribing.net), search queries
  • Other software: project management (Smartsheets), Sharepoint, MS Teams and integration with applications, webapps, Mentimeter, Miro whiteboard

How did I find the role?

Very fun. Cogora being a small-medium sized enterprise and covering several aspects of healthcare consultancy has the following pros/cons:

Pros:
– Very fast career progression
– Early responsibilities
– Flexibility in how you approach work
– Many opportunities across different deliverables & to initiate your own assets

Cons:
– Lack of standardisation in protocols
– Lack of automation of processes
– Constrained resources & high pressure
– Lack of expertise in some areas

Example deliverables

A lot of my work involves company strategy and is not available publicly, however here are some examples of publicly available deliverables:

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