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Understanding the nuances of health care is really important to succeed within the industry.

Winjie Miao, MHA, Senior Vice President and System Integration Officer at Texas Health Resources

On the value of the Health Care MBA

When Winjie Miao realized she could make a broad impact across communities in health care without taking care of one patient at a time as a doctor, she developed her career in public health, rising through the ranks at Texas Health Resources. She first oversaw the development of more than $500 million in construction at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas while growing its outpatient clinics and oncology services. She became president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle and then president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance, where she launched a new full-service hospital. Miao shares how an MBA is necessary for addressing healthcare’s greatest challenges.

How can an MBA help solve the toughest challenges facing health care today?

The larger question is how do we solve the fact that we spend more than any other developed country in the world, have the highest GDP per capita, but rank lowest in health care in the developed world. When you think about value as quality or service or outcomes divided by cost, clearly we have some ways to go. An MBA can help solve that by applying rigorous business principles to healthcare, whether it’s predictive modeling, having a manufacturing mindset, or involves strategic planning. A Health Care MBA gives you a well-rounded toolkit to help solve the fundamental problems of delivering better value to citizens of this country.

What's the value of a Health Care MBA vs. MBA?

Health care, in how it’s financed and how care is delivered, is very different than other industries. For example in the retail industry, when Frito Lay decides to sell a bag of Doritos for $3.29, and they stamp $3.29 on the bag, that's how much Doritos cost. That's not how healthcare works. Health care is very much dependent upon Medicare rates, insurance contracts, uninsured patients. When a patient walks in, we don’t know what we’re going to get paid for the services that they consume. That takes a really nuanced understanding of the health care system. It’s our mission to take care of patients whether they’re insured or not. We can’t shut down a plant because it’s not efficient. Understanding the nuances of health care is really important to succeed within the industry.

How important is it for health care leaders to understand new ways of interpreting data?

It’s essential, especially as we move forward. Health care is really moving from taking care of one individual person to taking care of populations of people. When you look at taking care of populations of people, that's really where all that we've learned about in terms of big data, analytics, predictive modeling, quantitative reasoning—which traditionally has only been applied to the finance world—has a place in health care as well. Students who have that skill set will have an advantage in this industry. 

How did your business education prepare you for your career?

A business education gives you a really great set of tools to set you up to be successful in the future. It gave me a really broad understanding of the work that I would do and the tools needed for my job. It provided me with the structure for whatever business I went into, whether it was the business of behavioral health education or the health care system. 

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