Discover Healthcare Management Consulting

In today's episode, John presents a career not previously highlighted: healthcare management consulting.

John will focus on the role of employed physician consultants within the vast landscape of national and international healthcare consulting firms. These firms address hospitals' (and other healthcare organizations') needs and provide innovative solutions to tackle complex challenges.

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Job Advantages Uncovered

When it comes to healthcare management consulting, there is often a focus on independent consulting roles, but the realm of employed healthcare management consulting jobs holds its own unique advantages. In these positions, professionals have the opportunity to leverage their medical expertise and practical communication skills to offer valuable solutions and advice to healthcare organizations.

  1.  High demand for these services – so new consultants are constantly being recruited.
  2.  Jobs are available for experienced and novice physicians, even those without board certification.
  3.  The pay is good and the benefits are very good.
  4.  Opportunity for professional growth and development.
  5.  These roles offer exposure to diverse fields (start-ups, hospital management, pharma, practice management).

Industry-Leading Healthcare Management Consulting Firms

John provided a list of national and international healthcare management consulting firms that offer specialized services in these domains, including the demand for physician consultants within these teams in a list. But here are some of the larger consulting firms:


John sheds light on the lesser-explored field of healthcare management consulting jobs with prominent national and international firms. Drawing from his experience as a hospital CMO, he highlights the prevalence of consulting firms within healthcare organizations. And he notes that most of these firms employ physician consultants.

To further assist readers, he generously provides a complimentary downloadable list featuring 25 major healthcare management consulting firms.

NOTE: Look below for a transcript of today's episode. 

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Transcription PNC Podcast Episode 302

5 Reasons to Consider a Healthcare Management Consulting Job

John: Today before we get to our main topic, let me ask you a question. What do the following services all have in common? Coding and documentation integrity, health informatics, strategic planning, revenue cycle expertise, evaluating vendors. Let me add some more to those. New service lines. Operational efficiency, utilization review, and case management. Well, you may recognize that those are all very important topics. They're very important fields and expertise that will allow hospitals to perform well. You find those in other businesses as well, other parts of healthcare, but definitely hospitals.

Second thing is though there are national international healthcare management consulting firms that provide consulting services in those areas for hospitals and actually for other healthcare related businesses like large practices. And many of those consulting teams hire and employ physician consultants.

I've talked to you about physician consulting as like a small business. You can do expert witness consulting, you can help practices if you're an expert in marketing and promotion. But there's this whole other side of consulting where you are employed. So, that's what I'm going to talk about today, positions as an employed physician consultant.

The thing is, the physicians who do these jobs are employed by one of these typically large national or international healthcare management consulting companies. Sometimes I just call them management companies, sometimes just healthcare management companies. There's even the smaller kind of niche companies that will focus on one or two specific domains, but there are a lot of these firms. Actually later on today's episode, I'm going to list some of those for you. And I have at the end a downloadable resource with 25 of the largest and most well-known healthcare management firms. So, listen to the end and I'll tell you how you can get that.

But anyway, these consulting firms assist hospitals and other healthcare organizations in solving problems. The reason I'm kind of familiar with this, and in some ways very comfortable with and very familiar with it is because when I was a hospital chief medical officer, I interacted with a number of different firms that came in to help us. And it was interesting because we normally had 2, 3, 4 of these consulting firms in there helping us with something or another. At any given time you could come in and last year's firm is gone, and now we have a new problem and the new ones come in.

And so, I'll give you some examples. We had a firm come in and help us implement our first lean process improvement program. We did that for the laboratory. It was an inpatient laboratory, which also did outpatient labs. And that was an area where lean process improvement, which was adopted from Toyota, was first applied in healthcare. Now you see it all over the place. You also see Six Sigma. Sometimes they're connected or combined into a single kind of process improvement approach to the hospital environment and also other big healthcare firms outside the hospital. So, that was a big one.

When we were looking at selecting our first hospital-wide electronic health record, we had consultants come in and help us with that. When we decided to start an open heart program, which we didn't have at the time, we were a medium size community hospital. Most of the places we could send patients to that needed open heart were at least an hour away. We were a little bit isolated. So we decided at one point to start our own program, and we had a firm come in and help us plan that. So you can think about that.

Any new service line, it's likely you can hire some consulting firm to come in, help you do the groundwork and implement that program. Now you have to pay for that, obviously, but usually when you get these companies in, that allows you to implement a lot quicker because you're using a lot of expertise that they already have that you don't have.

When we were looking at selecting the best inpatient management quality tool that would integrate with our EHR sometimes we would have a firm come in and help us walk through that process. We had the same thing done by multiple consultants over a period of 10 or 15 years to help us with our CDI program, to help us look at the models we were using for utilization management and case management.

We had consultants come in and help us with our bond issue. Even as a medium size community hospital, yes, we could issue bonds and people would buy those bonds that would provide money for investments at the hospital. And now that was one that probably didn't have any physicians on the team since it was strictly kind of a banking and financial situation. But there's always something going on at the hospital.

When you're starting a new service line or a new program, like when hospitalist programs first came out, there were a lot of consultants helping with that. When observation units first came out. And now every time there's a new type of service line, I can guarantee you there's going to be a management consulting firm that can help you with that, and they're going to be physicians on that team generally.

It's a big area. And one of the things I wanted to talk about is really why you would consider a job on one of these teams and what of the advantages are? Because I really haven't spent any time on that particular topic, I don't think I've spoken with an employed management consultant on this program ever.

I ran into a physician who was working for McKinsey a few years back and talked to him about what he was doing, but he was not able to come on the podcast. I think at the time when I invited him, he was having some health issues. So, I never really found another guest. I'm just going to tackle this topic today. I'm not going to get into great depth, but I'll give you some resources and some advice and I'm going to start by talking about five benefits of this job, or what are the five good strong points that make this job attractive to physicians who are looking to get out of the grind of everyday clinical care.

Now the first thing I'm going to mention is most of these jobs are full-time. Most of them require a little bit of on-the-job training because they're going to utilize your expertise in medicine, your knowledge of healthcare, your knowledge of the system, particularly in the United States and what's specific to it. But it's like you already have some transferrable skills that can be applied. But let me tell you the five really interesting benefits of considering this job and landing a job like this that you might want to keep in mind as you're thinking about doing it.

First of all, there's a huge demand for these services. In other words, not just for the physician components, but there's always new things coming up in healthcare. A lot of it's been driven in the past by new regulations by the federal government. We are super highly regulated and every time there's a new rule, like when Medicare was putting in the new quality metrics and length of stay, penalties, and coding and documentation changes and when quality measures are implemented, it takes time to learn those things.

And you can do it on your own if you have enough expertise in-house, but a lot of times it's quicker, easier, obviously a little more expensive to hire a firm to help you do those things. So, there's always a high demand. These healthcare management consulting firms are very large, some of them billion dollar companies and they have different subgroups within them, different divisions, different departments that some address mainly the financials. Some address more of the quality, some address more of the informatics.

And then you also have the niche companies that really only focus on one or two of those areas. But someone might say, "Well, they do consulting for revenue cycle." Well, revenue cycle covers a lot of different things, and part of revenue cycle is directly related to coding, documentation utilization and so forth. Some of it's just financial in terms of accounts receivable and how to do billing better and so forth.

But there's always jobs there for physicians. Because of that, these things are changing constantly. There's always new types of consulting being developed to meet those demands. And so, there's always lots of new jobs. Partly it's because healthcare is complex and partly because federal government and other agencies are imposing new requirements for you to meet.

I think it's built in. They do that on purpose so they can pay you less, whether you're a hospital or a physician until you get caught up. And then once you master that, they add new rules to make it more difficult again. So it's not a great system, but there is a great demand for meeting the growing changes in the healthcare environment to get paid and to be able to remain in compliance with certain rules and regulations.

That's number one. Always a high demand for new things coming down the pike. Number two, consulting jobs for physicians in these companies include jobs for both seasoned, board certified, very experienced physicians. I've worked with them. And those that are fresh out of med school even that don't have residency. In fact, that consultant I talked about earlier, a few minutes ago, he told me that there are many times where they want the novice physicians, they just want the medical school education background, understanding of how to read articles and interpret research and quantitatively and qualitatively understand working with patients, but in some ways they don't want them to have bad habits that you can get in practice.

If you've been in practice for 20 or 30 years, you're going to have certain ways of doing things. You're going to be used to being in charge. And on a lot of these teams, they don't want you to be in charge. They want you to be a member of the team that can help to do your part, focus on your specific area, then work together with the rest of the members of the team, to provide the services that your client basically has arranged to get from the company.

Anyway, you can be at any stage in your career and you'll probably be able to find a company that's looking for a physician with your background, expertise and amount of education. The pay is good, it's competitive. If you go in straight out of medical school, of course, you're not going to make the same as someone with a longer history of employment. But the only way they're going to get a physician with 20 years of experience is to pay them a salary that makes a commensurate with that.

Now, the salary is what I tell people of course, always, is consider the time you're spending and the other aspects of work. You're not going to need liability insurance. All your expenses are paid. So you might want to compare let's say a $200,000 job in consulting and be equivalent to a $250,000 job clinical where you're actually working 60 hours a week and doing charts at night and being on call and so forth. So, always keep that in mind. But the pay and the benefits are really good.

There's a lot of room for advancement. So, that's the fourth issue. A lot of room for advancement. As you learn these new skills which I'm going to talk about in a second, you'll have the ability to move up and be a senior member of the team, more pay, more benefits, things like deferred compensation and more vacation, things like that.

And then that brings me to the fifth benefit of working for one of these companies is you will learn a lot of new, very useful transferable skills that will set you up to do things in other companies. It'll set you up to work and move to. Maybe you start a niche company and then you move up to a larger company where you can head a department or lead a division if you're talking about CDI or something like that.

But you'll learn how to do project management. You'll learn how to work on an interdisciplinary team other than a healthcare team where there's a different relationship. You might learn sales and marketing, you'll learn about finances. You'll probably learn something about human resources. These are all skills that would become very useful if you go to another company that does healthcare consulting.

If you go to hospital management or large group management or maybe a startup, these can be very valuable skills and attitudes that open up doors to the business world that wouldn't normally come from just say working as a clinician.

Those are five of the big benefits that I'm aware of. I think you should consider a job in one of these large firms. And what I would do to get started, if you're thinking about this, is just start to look at some of these firms. I'll mention some of the companies now that hire consultants and hire physicians to be consultants. IBM has all kinds of divisions doing consulting, and some of it's in healthcare consulting. The big names we usually hear are Accenture, Deloitte used to be Deloitte & Touche, McKinsey, Huron. Really there's at least 25 very large national and some of them are international.

And so, I have created a list of those firms. You can go to them, look at their websites, go to their career sections or career pages, start to look at the job descriptions, look at what the requirements are. Again, depending on the niche and the area that you're looking at. Some will require more experience than others. There isn't really any special degree that you would need. You don't have to have an MBA or an MHA. That's not necessarily going to help you. They've already got the finance people and the sales people.

Oh, that's another thing, maybe I mentioned. But sales and marketing you'll learn because a lot of times you'll be doing pitches. And so, that might come in handy for starting your own business or heading up a startup or something like that, or being on the board of a startup.

That's pretty much all I wanted to say today. I would say go to That's the blog post for today's episode. And then I'll have a link there to related content as well as a link to this free downloadable list of 25 national and international healthcare management consulting firms with links to both their main site and their career pages. And you can use that.

You can also look them up on LinkedIn and learn more that way, or search on LinkedIn for healthcare management companies or healthcare management consulting companies. Before I go, I want to let you know that we're running a promotion for access to the 2023 New Script Summit recordings. We finished the summit a month or so ago. We have 12 fantastic lectures with a live Q&A for 10 of those, actually 11. The other one was a recorded Q&A. They're really fantastic. There's a lot of information there. I don't expect you to buy it just based on this, but if you go to you will get the page where you'll see that you can get all 12 of those lifetime access to those recordings for $249.

You can get a discount if you join NewScript. You can go to Join NewScript and there will be some promotions going on in the near future where NewScript members can get a discount 15% on that. But either way, if you want to just buy it directly, go to and buy the all access pass for $249.


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