As a healthcare professional in higher education, it is my job responsibility to understand trends occurring in the business environment relative to the industry, and bring those trends back into the classroom. Here are a few big trends we in Indiana cannot ignore, and must embrace in order to stay competitive:
1. Women winning in college, but not in the boardroom – More women than men graduate from college now. By 2020, some estimates project that 2/3 of all college graduates will be women. This sounds like good news for women. On the other hand, women aren't filling the boardrooms and large corporate C-suites to this ratio, yet, nor even at a 50:50 ratio. There are many companies, including companies in Indiana, which have no or little diversity on their boards. Companies like Boardroom Bound (http://www.boardroombound.biz/) train women and minorities how to be good directors of boards in for profit companies. We need more training like this in Indiana, should we want to stay diverse, tolerant, and more effectively compete on a global level over time, whatever sector we are discussing, including healthcare and life sciences.
2. Two Million Minutes – If you haven't yet seen Bob Compton's movie, Two Million Minutes, you should. In this movie, Compton looks at two Carmel High School students, two high school students in China, and two in India. It will shock and in some instances, horrify you as it did me. While we may be ahead in the realm of creativity, we are grossly behind in math and science in a lot of instances. What can we do about this? Educators should read the book, Drive: The Surprising Truth Around What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink. Pink argues in his new book that intrinsic motivation is the fuel on which we all burn…it motivates us in the workplace, with our hobbies, and whatever we choose to do. He also in the book studies charter and Montessori schools, where education is working for students. We need more alternative routes for young people to explore their passions in math and science, and such examples would be excellent for us to study more closely.
3. The L3C, or hybrid social enterprise – The low profit limited liability company (L3C), is a new hybrid not for profit/for profit company legal business formation type springing up across states in the US. Vermont was the first state to offer this type of business entity, and Illinois just began offering this as of January 1, 2010. Michigan also offers it, and Ohio has a pending bill on the L3C. It blends the best of both worlds, because it is managed as a for profit entity, but it works like a not for profit, in the sense that it can possibly appeal for grant funding. This is an extremely interesting business type for healthcare and life sciences, and could be great for hospitals, orphan drug companies, and any other types of healthcare and life science entities that might not be as highly profitable, and perhaps are more focused more on the social good rather than just purely profit. Sustainable, lower profit but socially conscious companies are the future, and we must embrace new thinking about what a company can be in order to compete globally in the future.
4. Healthcare Agents – More and more of the baby boomers are approaching the age of transitional living—from independent living, to assisted living, and to long term care. Usually, the choices for living fall upon the first born adult child; however, the choices of health care plans via Medicare, to the range and types of assisted living, even to medication management, can be overwhelming to anyone, especially when an older loved one just returned from the hospital. Healthcare and eldercare agents are now springing up all over to assist these families in their time of need. Myhealthcaremanager.com, a local company with a national presence, provides eldercare solutions. Local entrepreneur Carlotta Katra runs AgingAvenues.com, a local online portal for people with aging relatives. The ‘healthcare agent' is a tremendous opportunity for those in healthcare and life sciences both now and in the future. People are going to need help wading through the paperwork and process of caring for their elderly loved ones, and those healthcare agents who can help guide patients and families through this tumultuous stage of life are going to not only profit, but also provide much needed assistance to make the transitions easier. Nurses, pharmacists, and all other allied healthcare professionals can seize this opportunity, and no doubt will have job security and provide great care to patients.
Erin Albert is a business owner, writer, assistant professor, and student. She owns two companies (Pharm, LLC and Yuspie, LLC), and is the Director of the Ribordy Center for Community Practice at Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She has developed and written several books, and is currently a 2L at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. She currently holds a BS in Pharmacy from Butler University, a MBA in Marketing from Concordia University, and a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from Shenandoah University.
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