What is a Healthcare Consultant?

A healthcare consultant functions as an analyst in healthcare who is responsible for examining a healthcare institution’s:

  • efficiency
  • profitability
  • overall structure

Such examination allows a healthcare consultant to improve the organization and carry out management tasks that facilitate smooth operation at the healthcare institution.

Healthcare consultants often work part time at healthcare institutions. They function as consultants who give the institution an objective, outside opinion on potential improvements at the institution. It’s common for healthcare consultants to be hired on a part time or consultant basis. However, they will sometimes be hired full time by certain organizations and institutions. Larger companies are more likely to hire full time healthcare consultants. These healthcare professionals could either work full time for one firm or work independently and spread their time among various obligations at different healthcare institutions.

Job duties and required skills

Healthcare consultants need to have a thorough knowledge of not only healthcare, but also of general business practices. These consultants will often be hired by a healthcare institution to address a specific problem. They may also be given more general job instructions that require them to seek out any potential problems and hindrances at a healthcare institutions on their own. They analyze factors such as revenue and employment figures. Then the consultants will look out for ways to improve operations  from a financial standpoint and possibly from an efficiency or patient satisfaction standpoint as well.

Consultants working in healthcare need to be skilled at carrying out research and compiling this research to present a coherent and insightful report to the organization. They often need to be highly independent workers who are capable of managing themselves. A consultant working in the healthcare field will typically work with very limited supervision and will be required to accomplish job tasks on their own.

Some important competencies for consultants include:

  • communication abilities
  • presentation skills
  • organizational skills
  • the ability to work well under pressure
  • creativity

Creativity skills help consultants to come up with useful ideas for making improvements at the institutions that hire them.


Those who are successful in pursuing careers as consultants working in the field of healthcare will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree. It is generally advantageous for consultants to continue their education on to the graduate level by earning a Master’s degree. A Master’s degree is particularly important for those wishing to find employment with private industries. Those who wish to go into this field can choose a variety of majors, including:

Ideally, students will also bring academic coursework specific to the field of healthcare into their university studies. This could be through a minor or specialization in healthcare.

In addition to academic studies, certification is often a good idea for those interested in a consulting career in the field of healthcare. Some organizations offer a Certified Management Consultant designation that can help further the professional ambitions of aspiring consultants. One organization that has a relevant certification is the Institute of Management Consultants. It offers a healthcare consultant designation.