Why Study Health Systems
The healthcare industry is a very large, complex, and inefficient industry with growing costs being a major concern. The Institute of Medicine (2001) put forth four key underlying reasons for inadequate quality of care in the U.S. healthcare system today: (1) the growing complexity of science and technology, (2) the increase in chronic conditions, (3) a poorly organized delivery system, and (4) constraints on exploiting the revolution in information technology. In addition, a growing trend toward consumerism is building up as a major force in shaping the future organization of the healthcare industry.
While engineering crosses into almost every aspect of our daily lives, its presence in the healthcare industry has been somewhat limited because engineers have not been appropriately prepared to make a difference in healthcare. Typically,
- Engineers do not have good knowledge of healthcare systems,
- Public health, population health, and health services researchers do not have good knowledge of operations research and systems analysis methods and theories, and
- Information and decision support technology experts have hardware and software capabilities, but need the "content" of the necessary applications to be developed.
Engineers today face the challenge of developing and applying tools, models, and theories as well as utilizing and integrating new information and biomedical technologies that together will shape the healthcare system of the future. The Health Systems Institute at Georgia Tech, through its talented faculty, students, and graduate program, is uniquely positioned to have a tremendous impact on healthcare delivery systems in the United States.
At the masters level, we offer a 30 semester hour program that can be completed in one year (requires 3 consecutive semesters).
Students interested in doctoral study may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program following their bachelors degree work. In general, admission to the Ph.D. program is highly competitive.
About Our Graduates
The Georgia Tech program in health systems has produced more than 600 alumni, including healthcare CEOs, physicians, college presidents, and the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources.
Graduating masters students find jobs in various fields while about 10% continue onto Ph.D. programs at Georgia Tech or elsewhere. About 40% go to work in hospitals and healthcare systems, serving in progressively more responsible positions starting in the quality improvement, decision support, information management, patient accounting, facilities planning, or operations management departments. We have a number of our graduates in healthcare systems CEO positions with about 40% accepting positions at consulting firms where they work on big projects, traveling and pulling down top salaries.
Our Ph.D. graduates select academic and non-academic positions in essentially equal proportions. Those entering universities have not only taken positions at large research institutions, but also in departments at smaller liberal arts colleges and universities. Recent graduates have been employed at places ranging from top institutions of higher education such as Purdue University, to top companies such as Medtonic.