UCI DCE Magazine | Managing Miracles

Summer 2017

Dramatic healthcare breakthroughs require innovative project managers.

By any measure, the healthcare industry is on the brink of unprecedented challenges, even in the face of medical and technological breakthroughs that offer exciting and hopeful new treatment options.

Consider the sweeping changes implemented by the Affordable Care Act that current political turmoil seeks to unravel. At the same time, nascent technology like 3D printers, Artificial Intelligence and robotics is poised for evolutionary leaps that will alter how medicine is delivered and healthcare is administered.

Such serious disruptions will clearly require innovative management to coordinate all the moving parts of this massive and crucial industry. And that means big opportunities for anyone seeking a career in healthcare project management.

“The healthcare field has many opportunities for project managers as it grows and changes,” said Marty Wartenberg, award-winning UCI Division of Continuing Education project management instructor and independent consultant. “Healthcare delivery is a complex system combining the human element with technology and best practices. The field is rapidly changing and new applications will completely change how healthcare is delivered and managed.”

Innovating the future

Healthcare is indeed poised for exponential leaps into the future — and in many ways, the future is now, said Larry Stofko, executive vice president of the Innovation Institute, a leading-edge developer of new products, services and ideas — sort of a “Shark Tank” for healthcare entrepreneurs.

Already, telemedicine allows patients from remote rural areas to have instant access to physician care, significantly reducing ER visits, mortality rates and healthcare expenses. Sophisticated 3D printers are bioprinting artificial human parts like heart valves and ears, as well as bionic arms and legs. And Big Data is being mined at lightning speed by supercomputers such as IBM Watson to provide “the most accurate diagnostic information and previously untapped insights,” Stofko said.

“We are approaching a world where quantum computing with its parallel-computing capabilities will solve multiple healthcare problems simultaneously,” he said.

Robotics is another field that promises to reshape the industry in especially impactful ways, Stofko said. “Robots are great and we see them as having a beneficial impact. We already see them packaging and administering medication, treating stroke victims and helping to perform medical procedures.”

Providing added dimensions to healthcare, Artificial Reality and Virtual Reality serve as supplemental technology that will continue to evolve well into the future, he said. Wearables like Google Glass are adding an extra digital layer of text and images to enhance the capabilities of physicians and other healthcare professionals. Who knows where this technology will lead?

“A mixture of Big Data, Internet of Things, and wearable computing like Google Glass and HoloLens will not only play an important role, they will become the norm in connecting people with the information they need to create more precise and intimate patient treatments and interactions,” Stofko said.

With technology taking over so many facets of the industry, an estimated 47% of jobs will be displaced by 2025, according to a recent Oxford study. Project managers will need to be increasingly tech-savvy, yet the human element will become more essential than ever.

After all, real people will be needed to incorporate these innovations into healthcare delivery systems. And UCI DCE is poised to deliver state-of-the-art training that addresses the challenges in a number of ways.

“It will take highly trained professionals with all of the backgrounds that are covered in our various DCE programs to develop and operate these systems,” Wartenberg stressed.  More…