While majoring in psychology at the University of Central Florida, Oren Avery worked as a patient care technician in a dialysis clinic. “That was my first health care role. I really enjoyed it as a career path,” he said. “Once I graduated, I applied to a health administration graduate program. I jumped into the business side of health care. I loved the direct patient care side of it, but I wanted to move into the business side.”
After working in special projects at a children’s hospital, Avery joined Physicians Neck and Back Clinics in 2009. “My direct duties are to oversee budgeting, strategic planning, staff management, forecasting, and building relationships with providers and clinic personnel,” he said.
As manager of the Edina and Lakeville locations, he said, “I am part of a management team located throughout the Twin Cities area. We meet pretty regularly, determining our direction and operational responsibilities. We are responsible for communicating those at our clinic locations. I also manage a team at my individual clinics.”
The changes in the industry make this an exciting time to be in health care management, Avery said. “I think every organization has an opportunity with the changes that are happening in healthcare right now to make more of an impact in customer service and providing the best patient-centered care possible. I know here it’s part of our values as an organization — excellence, compassion, partnership, integrity.”
Does your background as a patient care technician help you as an administrator? Is it a typical career path?
I don’t think it’s required, but it is beneficial. I see both views. When I’m communicating with my teams, I do have some insight. We have some peers whose background has been business. We have some that have been clinical. A good step for anyone looking to get into the role would be to start in the clinical role and then get a business education.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
For me, the fun does involve our outcomes with our patients. It’s very unique in our environment with PNBC. We are very unique in that our patients are placed in a 6- to 12-week program of therapy. They have a graduation moment, which is literally just a discharge day. They’re asked to communicate their experience with us in an anonymous, patient input form. I read the success stories from those forms every month. They say they’re sad to be leaving us but happy to be feeling better. I don’t know many health care environments where people are sad to be leaving.
What changes do you see coming in health care?
I think right now and in the future, most organizations are looking to provide more access to their patients, so you’re seeing expansion by organizations looking for markets to provide service that they don’t currently provide. That opens up leadership roles and administrative roles. It is a business that does have its ups and downs like any other business, but I think most organizations are looking to expand. I would say healthcare options for the public will increase. I think there’s really a push right now for remote monitoring — treating patients who may not have access to the same care options as someone who lives in an urban area. I think it’s exciting to see how that plays into healthcare. □