According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Guide to Industries (2011 edition), employment in the scientific, management and technical consulting services industry is expected to grow by 83 per cent between 2008 and 2018. The career field of medical consultant is within the career group of managerial consulting. A medical consultant can work in many areas, but the basic environment for a medical consultant is within a hospital providing research and advice to various hospital functions. A medical consultant is also known as a health care consultant, health care analyst or medical adviser.
In a hospital setting, a medical consultant can provide a medical analysis of complex claims files ensuring that paperwork and the filing of medical claims follow compliance procedures established by government regulations and laws. The consultant can provide management with guidance concerning the work capacity of employees or labour issues between the hospital and union, and analyse working environments within a health care setting. A medical consultant can perform his duties in the capacity as an adviser to the health care community concerning various medical or health issues.
Job Functions and Features
A medical consultant can consult and advise practitioners and other physicians on various medical issues. The consultant can review current and historical assessments by other staff physicians to determine a medical solution to a health problem and adherence to guidelines and procedures. A consultant has the responsibility to stay informed concerning the latest research and technological developments in the medical profession in order to provide critical information to their peers. A medical consultant may present information to hospital management, staff, doctors and other medical personnel in the form of written reports, group meetings and presentations.
A medical consultant can be a staff employee working in a hospital facility or can be hired as an independent consultant from a company or private practice. If the individual is employed by a hospital, the consultant usually has an office in the building with a medical administrative assistant assigned to assist with handling of calls, data management and information. The consultant typically works 40 hours per week and may be on call throughout the weekend for emergencies.
A medical consultant must have investigative and problem-solving skills. Computer application skills are a must, as well as being familiar with data interfaces to obtain critical data for analysis and review. A medical consultant also performs research so an analytical nature is needed to be successful in the occupation. After a few years, many consultants branch out to start their own medical consulting firms, providing technical advice to community health initiatives, in educational environments or as advisers to health boards and associations. Their skills are generally honed in a hospital environment.
Educational Requirements and Salary
The educational requirement for a medical consultant is a bachelor's or master’s degree in health care administration. Most medical consultants work their way through a career path that starts at the position of medical information specialist or health information manager. As of June 2013, the salary for a medical consultant with five to nine years of experience is between £39,985 to £58,581.