Hilary Herendeen, GCMM’21, MBA’23, understands healthcare from many different perspectives. A nurse practitioner who first earned a degree in health management, Hilary has also worked as a pharmaceutical representative, a pharmacy tech and a nurse’s assistant. She recently took on a supervisory role as the Director of Employer Services at Riverview Health in Noblesville, Indiana.
“As I experienced more of the managerial side of healthcare, it piqued my interest. I took a position managing our employer clinics, which are primary care clinics serving several employers in Hamilton County,” she says. “Being a nurse practitioner, I understood the clinical side of primary care but didn’t have as much experience on the business and managerial side.”
Hilary enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Medical Management at the Kelley School of Business. She found the 12-month, 100% online program to be flexible enough to fit her schedule as a busy professional with a family, while also offering practical and applicable exposure to the business side of healthcare.
“The graduate certificate is truly a mini MBA, a really well-rounded way to dip your toe into healthcare business and management,” she says. “It gave me insight into which areas I enjoyed and which ones may not be for me.”
The graduate certificate is truly a mini MBA, a really well-rounded way to dip your toe into healthcare business and management.”
The Kelley Graduate Certificate in Medical Management offers core business concepts taught through the lens of healthcare. Courses are taught by award-winning Kelley faculty, who have years of experience researching and teaching the business of healthcare.
“Each professor structured their course a bit differently, but they all did it in a way that made the material very applicable to my daily work,” says Hilary. “This not only keeps me engaged, but also helps me feel like I am getting something out of every single class and assignment. This program is totally applicable to my world, and I can see in my work that I’m growing, learning and becoming a better employer, manager and leader.”
Hilary says some of the greatest takeaways from the graduate certificate were from the two courses on strategy and value creation. In the course called “Value Creation and Financial Performance in Healthcare Systems,” she completed a deep dive analysis into the financials of her hospital’s occupational health clinic.
“On the surface, we thought things were going moderately well in the clinic, but my analysis showed a pretty significant trend in the wrong direction,” says Hilary. “Because of that, we pivoted to change some of our offerings and tweaked our marketing campaign to get things going in the right direction again.”
Hilary says the “Healthcare System Strategy and Innovation” course made some of the greatest impact in her perception of the business of healthcare. It forced her to take a step back to reconsider how healthcare is delivered currently and reimagine how it could be done more effectively.
The course forced her to take a step back to reconsider how healthcare is delivered currently and reimagine how it could be done more effectively.
“We often limit ourselves by thinking how we deliver healthcare is the only way to do it. But in the strategy course, we studied various healthcare delivery systems from all over the world—and it’s different from what we are doing here in America. Practitioners in other countries go out into the communities and host clinics on the side of the road,” she says. “In my current role, I stepped back and said: If we wipe the slate completely clean and decide the end goal is to make patients happier and healthier, is there a different way to get to that?”
Ultimately, Hilary took that inspiration and ran with it, creating a proposal for her organization to take healthcare to the patient and break with the status quo of healthcare.
“There are problems in healthcare you could spend your entire career working on and still not solve them, but someone’s got to try,” says Hilary. “To learn about something in a business course and to apply it to real work that creates a measurable difference is fun and exciting. It makes me feel like I’m doing what I was hired to do.”
To learn about something in a business course and to apply it to real work that creates a measurable difference is fun and exciting. It makes me feel like I’m doing what I was hired to do.”
As she gained greater business acumen, Hilary also acquired a different lens through which to view healthcare. While the financials may seem black and white, patient care is not. It’s nuanced, and learning how to make effective and efficient business decisions is influencing how Hilary views effective patient care.
“From a business standpoint, you may think you only need 23 team members to staff a clinic. But if you’ve worked in the clinic, you know it’s very difficult to provide good patient care with 23 people when everyone comes in at the same time and staff becomes overwhelmed—that’s when mistakes happen,” she says.
Similarly, Hilary says clinicians without business experience often don’t understand the repercussions of their actions.
“Practitioners sometimes open up supplies in the ER before seeing a patient—I was guilty of this, too. If the chief complaint was laceration, we grabbed a suture kit on the way to see the patient. But if I get in there, and I don’t need that suture kit, I’ve wasted it—it’s money thrown away,” she explains. “I didn’t approach care from that perspective as a clinician. Now, I understand how wasting supplies affects not only my department’s budget, but the system overall.”
When she enrolled in the Kelley Graduate Certificate in Medical Management, Hilary wanted to be more effective in her current role. Now that she’s built out her business capabilities, she wants to keep up the momentum of change. She’s currently putting the graduate certificate course credits toward earning an Evening MBA at the Kelley School as she continues her work in improving healthcare.
“I really enjoyed the strategy and innovation course, looking at things through a very different lens and trying to solve problems in an unconventional way,” says Hilary. “Now, I’d like to pursue strategic work in hospital management so I can continue working to improve patient care in a more comprehensive way.”