What is Healthcare Consulting?

Michelle Ball

What is Healthcare Consulting? 


Consulting is a broad field and used as a buzzword that can often be difficult to understand. According to Consultancy.uk, a consultant is a “person who provides professional or expert advice in a particular field of science or business to either an organization or individual.” Hence, consulting simply means providing expertise in an area. By this definition, a consultant can provide advising services as an independent businessperson or as part of a firm. 

Defining Healthcare Consulting

Consultants practice roles in a wide range of industries, including, but not limited to: “federal, economic & litigation, defense, healthcare, environmental, and retail.” Today’s blog will focus specifically on healthcare consulting. The healthcare industry is a growing field, and healthcare consultants are valuable as their involvement projects can be directly tied to the health of patients. Check out our healthcare consulting webinar with alum Jordan Glist, a consultant with Kaiser Permanente for more information.

Healthcare consultants “advise pharmaceutical companies, biotech start-ups, health insurance companies, and governments on the most effective and efficient ways of delivering healthcare.” One of the main duties of a healthcare consultant is to find ways to reduce costs and increase revenue while maintaining patient satisfaction. They often work directly with administrators or other high-level executives to identify problems in a healthcare organization. Healthcare consultants can thus be employed by medical facilities and hospitals to save their time and resources, as well as government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, consulting firms, and private practices/clinics.

Company and project examples

Healthcare-specific consulting firms often specialize in business strategy, so they engage with pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. Examples of such firms include GE Healthcare Partners, Triangle Insights Group, ZS Associates, ClearView Healthcare Partners, and Trinity Life Sciences. 

These firms tackle a few different types of challenges. The first example of these is Research & Development. Consultant teams on these types of projects “carry out preclinical and clinical research to discover and test the best new therapeutics.” The second is Medical Affairs problems – consultant teams in this area work on physician and scientist awareness of the latest clinical research, drugs, diseases, and diagnostic advancements. Lastly, there are Commercial Affairs teams which work on marketing drugs to physicians and patients, pricing drugs with insurance companies, and developing operational capacity.

Benefits and Job Outlook

According to Indeed.com, health-care related occupations have a faster than average projected growth rate, which implies a high level of job security. Additionally, this job has the benefit of flexibility in part-time, full-time, or self-employed work depending on your preferences and skill level.

Next Steps

Experts claim that consultants who enjoy their jobs gain pleasure from taking up complex challenges, breaking them up into smaller tasks, and executing them creatively and in a timely manner. If this sounds appealing to you, consider some of the following steps to becoming a healthcare consultant. First, most entry-level consultants have at least a bachelor’s degree. There is no specific major required, but candidates often choose degree programs such as business, nursing, biology, or public health. More competitive applicants may pursue a Master’s degree in topics like health care administration, public health, or business. 

Additionally, it is important to expand your skill set in the field. Some core skills include: communication, financial knowledge, detail-orientedness, flexibility, and self-motivation. Lastly, gaining experience is important. Applying to internships and jobs by searching up “health consultant” in Handshake can help kickstart your career in this field. And don’t forget to attend the Introduction to Consulting Night to engage with real companies such as EY LLP, Deloitte, and Oliver Wyman!