Industrial Distribution Medical Equipment and Supplies core electives

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For a wide array of reasons, demand for health care services, equipment, and supplies is increasing. Contributing factors including an aging population and an increase in the frequency of chronic illnesses are making access to health care and the necessary supplies and equipment to facilitate these services more important than ever before.

Surgeon wearing scrubs performing surgery while looking at a screen.

In fact, according to a report from Energias Market Research, the global market for medical supplies and equipment will grow at a compound annual rate of more than 6%. Through 2023, the sector will expand from its 2016 value of $91.3 billion to reach $140.5 billion.

As health care demands continue to rise and markets including the medical supply industry maintain their growth, there is a considerable need for medical device supply chain management. This is just one of the career paths that students with an industrial distribution degree can follow, and more opportunities are emerging in this field every day.

Let’s take a closer look at the curriculum of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution. Specifically, we’ll focus in on the BSID Medical Equipment and Supplies core electives, including courses’ learning goals and outcomes and how they help students become more familiar with the field of medical equipment and supply distribution.

What’s included in the Medical Equipment and Supplies core?

Before delving into the elective options, it’s worth briefly examining the core courses included in the BSID Medical Equipment and Supplies specialization. Ahead of graduation, students are required to take:

  • Industrial Distribution Management, which focuses on the evolution of industrial distribution and the skills required to manage an organization in this field.
  • Industrial Distribution Operations, a course centered around the concepts needed to support efficient and profitable distribution operations.
  • Industrial Distribution Policies and Quality Issues, which teaches students best practices in prioritizing business-to-business relationships, analysis for customer sales data, as well as the importance of customer retention and loyalty.
  • Industrial Distribution Directed Studies/Practicum, an experiential learning internship requirement, where students apply their skills in the field.
  • Professional Selling, which also includes hands-on experience for students to practice sales presentation, professional interactions, and case analysis.

This core curriculum provides students with management, facility operations, customer relations and hands-on professional skills, all of which are required for this field. Overall, each of these courses is worth three credit hours, contributing 15 total credit hours to the program.

Elective opportunities for Medical Equipment and Supplies students

In addition, students will also complete 12 credit hours of elective courses. To fulfill this requirement, students can choose from elective options including:

  • Overview of Health Care Systems: In this course, students familiarize themselves with current U.S. health care policies and the ways in which these standards impact the overarching American health care system. This course also includes a health care financing component, enabling students to grow their skills in financial analysis strategies, particularly as it applies to policies governing today’s health care system.
  • Health Care Economics: As the name implies, this course centers around the use of economics to analyze processes and issues in the health care sector. Students learn about current institutional trends and study real-world cases to practice resolving health care economic issues. A course like this can be particularly helpful for Medical Equipment and Supplies students to develop a deeper understanding of supply and demand in the field.
  • Health Care Marketing: This course examines the practice of marketing in the health care industry, including the particular challenges that marketers in this sector face. Students examine the difficulty in marketing and selling health care equipment and services, and how to segment the market according to different health care providers.
  • Medical Terminology for Health Professionals: Learning medical terminology is imperative for anyone working in the health care field, particularly those seeking to pursue a career in medical equipment and supplies. This course centers on medical terminology and ensures that students have a robust understanding of the terms to describe medical conditions and treatments. In this way, students can confidently, correctly, and appropriately communicate with health care providers, particularly pertaining to their medical equipment and supply needs.

How electives align with the current professional industry

While it isn’t difficult to see the importance of a course that enables students to learn correct medical terminology, courses like those related to health care marketing or the overarching health care system may not seem as relevant to the Medical Equipment and Supplies specialization. However, concepts like health care marketing and having a deep understanding of the current health care system are more critical for professionals today than ever before.

As CMO contributor and Wunderman Health EVP Lindsay Resnick notes, health care marketing now involves increasingly advanced themes like data analysis and a sharp focus on the customer experience. It’s incredibly beneficial for individuals looking to work in the field of medical device supply chain management to have a robust understanding of current health care marketing trends to grow their customer base and support their organization.

Similarly, an in-depth knowledge of the current health care system is invaluable, particularly as this sector continues to face struggles. According to a report from Navigant, 65% of for- and nonprofit health care systems experienced an income decline from 2015 to 2017. Understanding these and the other issues impacting the health care and medical supply chain industry will be integral to students’ professional success following graduation, and will prepare them to not only face these challenges head on, but work toward intelligent, proactive solutions.

To find out more about the elective options or core curriculum requirements in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution Medical Equipment and Supply specialization, connect with one of our expert enrollment advisors today.

Recommended Reading:

The Charles and Patsy Collat Industrial Distribution Program

Student Spotlight: Chuck Hall – Class of 2019


Energias Market Research