Please explain your industry and its future outlook

Being part of a large health system that contains multiple hospitals and over 250 clinics is complex yet fascinating. This is a constantly evolving industry that is continuing to implement innovative ways to improve consumer access and provide leading-edge healthcare to the community. Hospital systems are continuously striving to reduce costs, increase revenue, maintain compliance with licensing/accrediting bodies and adjust their business models to align with changes in payer reimbursement. As we continue to see the emergence, success, and convenience of telehealth, health systems across the country will continue to invest time and money into this technology. Telehealth has proven to provide new access points, improve follow-up visits, enable patient at-home monitoring, etc. We should expect to see this component of healthcare continue to grow rapidly over the next 10 years.

Dating back to when the Affordable Care Act was enacted into law, we have begun a shift from fee-for-service to a pay-for-performance reimbursement model. This includes a number of payment models including MACRA, capitation, value-based purchasing and bundled payments. In short, providers, including hospital systems, will start to be paid based more on the quality of care they provide as opposed to the volume of services provided. It is to their advantage to reduce costs in order to profit from these new payment models. For these reasons, hospital systems will continue to find ways to reduce costs, eliminate unnecessary services, and improve quality. One way health systems are doing this is by making large-scale investments into outpatient centers and clinics. The intention is to keep patients that do not require hospital care out of the hospital. This way, systems are able to still provide quality care but at a much less costly price. This is a very common trend over the last 10 years and is almost guaranteed to continue.

What are THE duties and responsibilities of your current role? THROW INsome work perks

As a Patient Safety Specialist at UCLA Health, my role is focused on uncovering and solving patient safety issues and trends through our internal reporting system, reducing patient harm, conducting root cause analyses for serious safety events, participating in the ongoing implementation of a just culture, guiding performance improvement initiatives and many other projects focused on improving the quality of our care.
Working for UCLA Health has a wide range of work perks. Firstly, the organization has a phenomenal management culture, great leadership and well-structured career development for its employees. UCLA Health provides notable benefits to its employees, competitive salaries, operates in attractive areas of Los Angeles and has a strong focus on retaining their employees. Not to mention, UCLA Health is currently the best health system in California. I am privileged to be able to take advantage of all of these perks all while being in the lively Westwood area.

explain other career options within your industry

When it comes to hospital systems, there are a multitude of career options. Aside from the obvious clinical routes (physician, nursing, nurse practitioner, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, etc.), one can build a career in areas such as: strategy, operations, finance, quality, project management, risk management, legal, compliance, regulatory affairs, EHR build, construction, materials management, social work, care coordination, etc. If you have decided that you want to work in healthcare but are unsure of which route to take, the options can seem overwhelming. However, if you take the time to understand the nature and commitment of the many opportunities available, the best decision will eventually emerge for you.

Andreas pictured with his BFF Leo the French Bulldog in their hometown in Palos Verdes Estates, CA.

How has your education helped your career journey?

I attended the University of Southern California (USC) and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology. I then immediately pursued my Master of Health Administration (MHA) also at USC. Simply put, my career would not be existent without my education. Within my undergraduate studies, I developed in a variety of ways. I was taught how to think critically, developed a strong work ethic, analyzed scientific studies, conducted experiments, sharpened my public speech, learned how to formulate a solid argument and how to perform well in a team-based environment. These skillsets, in addition to many others, continue to be a huge impact toward my career. My MHA education took many of these skillsets to a higher, more sophisticated level. In addition, I gained fundamental knowledge of the many sectors of our healthcare system including areas such as: healthcare strategy, policy, population health, quality, finance/accounting, managed care, lean methodology, healthcare-focused statistics, issues in healthcare, etc.

As an employee for a large, complex health system, these concepts are key to solving many of the problems that arise. In order to succeed, especially in the administrative/operations sector, one must have a firm understanding of how our healthcare system works. Healthcare is constantly evolving; therefore, it is crucial that one is not only understanding of the current state but also the direction it is headed. The MHA program was instrumental in providing me with much of this knowledge. However, the education cannot and does not stop there for me. I continue to stay up to date with healthcare news, obtain certifications and maintain a student mind-set when learning of new healthcare concepts that are unfamiliar to me. There is no educational degree out there that will teach you everything you need to know. One must continue to learn and grow if they want to be successful in this field.

What are some cool innovations within your industry?

Heath systems are constantly assessing and implementing new ways to improve quality of care, reduce costs, and provide a safe environment for their employees. In addition to the growth of telehealth, we are seeing all kinds of fascinating innovations including, but not limited to: robotic surgeries, smart pills (pills that actively track health problems in your body), 3-D bioprinting, genetic sequencing, artificial intelligence assisting providers in diagnosing/managing patients, and virtual reality.

How beneficial are internships and mentors?

Internships and well-connected mentors are obviously the most effective way to get your foot in the door in any industry. Collaborating and working side-by-side with the very people in the industry of which you wish to work in, is clearly an intelligent move. I believe most people know this. However, another benefit that many overlook is that one also learns what areas they don’t want to work in before fully committing. This is key as I constantly see employees that are clearly unhappy in their respective department and feel they are too deep to make a move. This can be avoided by dipping your toes into a certain sector by means of an internship or picking a mentor’s brain without fully submerging yourself by committing to a long-term position.

What are your top 3 favorite books

Can’t Hurt Me, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and 12 Rules for Life have been some of my favorite recent reads.