Health and Medical Care Management: a course review

We have reached the last course review of the year for the health economics, policy and management programme: Health and Medical Care Management. This course covered the basics of management theory applied to the healthcare sector (there’s an advanced course next semester), adapting the content in order to apply the concepts to the current COVID-19 pandemic. As a starting statement, I must confess that this course turned out to be radically different from expected, being one of my favorites so far even considering the downsides of distance learning.


This course had a total duration of 7 weeks. Regardless of the pandemic situation, this course is known for having a different approach when it comes to learning activities. Most of the time was spent in individual studies, interaction sessions with the whole class and tons of group work (via zoom). The schedule is really flexible, so it really depends more on how you organize yourself with your group regarding working hours.

Course design:

The course leaders are well known medical education innovators, which is reflected considerably in the course structure and dynamics. We only had a few traditional lectures (most of them were recorded and posted on our learning portal), while the rest of our “teaching time” was actually performed on interaction sessions with our classmates.

Course adaptation to COVID-19:

After consultation with the whole class, our teachers adapted all the course structure and content in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic from a health and medical management perspective. This allowed us to develop a very critical evaluation of our own countries’ responses to the virus as well as working on very innovative projects aimed to address the first evident gaps in healthcare management unveiled by the pandemic.


The course was divided in four modules to guide our work:

On the first module we were asked to develop a page with a report of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in our own countries, using specific guidelines provided by our teachers. We were asked to review all pages in order to end this module with an interaction session where we discussed the different challenges identified from a healthcare management perspective.

Second module was about establishing different work groups based on the WHO’s six healthcare system building blocks. We then had to identify a challenge in COVID-19 responde that we wanted to address as a team based on healthcare management theory.

The third module was the most challenging from my perspective. All groups were tasked to narrow their research objectives and to perform a scoping reviews on the topic. This was my first time writing a scoping review and even though I found it a bit hard at the beginning, thanks to all the guidance and previous work done on module 1, it resulted to be a fun learning experience.

Finally, on module four we had to develop a specific deliverable based on our work on the previous modules. The best part was that we were allowed to choose our own type of deliverable to work with depending on the group interests. The quality of the final documents turned out to be so good that many classmates are in the process of potentially publishing their work or continuing it as their master’s thesis project.


The course was directed by the same amazing duo that conducted the introduction course at the beginning of the programme:

Mats Brommels (MD PhD): Prof. Brommels is the chair of the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME) and the Director of the Medical Management Centre (MMC) at KI.

Carl Savage (MD, PhD): Prof. Savage is the co-director of the Clinical Management research group at KI and deputy director for our master’s programme.

Both professors have very extensive experience in the field, plus they are extremely devoted to teaching. Every session and feedback session with them was really encouraging. I am sure I speak for all my class when I say that we all enjoyed and learned a lot during our courses with them.

I personally recommend you to take a few minutes to watch Prof. Savage’s Ted Talk about the future of medical education:


Some of the topics covered in the lectures and interactions included:

  • COVID-19 pandemic development
  • Organizational capabilities and organizational alignment
  • WHO’s building blocks from a management perspective
  • Change management and leadership
  • Theories of change
  • Quality improvement
  • Management research
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Mixed research methods


This course had an innovative approach towards evaluation. Our teachers firmly expressed their wish to give us all the best grade, so we could focus on learning more than in passing. Although we still had to work our best to get the passing mark, this approach impulsed us to concentrate on our experience and not stressing too much about before the deadlines.

  • Group evaluation: This comprised almost all the work during this course. Even though our final delivery was the officially graded one, we still had to submit different documents as we advanced through the modules. This final delivery varied between groups, as we had the possibility to choose whatever document suited best our interests and topic. For example, my group chose to write a study protocol for conducting research on different training programmes on COVID-19 workup for healthcare professionals. Moreover, our course directors conducted customised feedback sessions with each group that were be vital for the development of our final assignments.
  • Individual evaluation: This course also assessed us individually in a way that I never experienced before. We were asked to write a letter at the beginning of the course explaining prospectively why we achieved the best grade. Then at the end of the course, we had to re-do the analysis but retrospectively. Although I was a bit hesitant at first, it turned out to be quite helpful for understanding my personal growth during the course and it made me reflect on aspects of my work methodology that I didn’t realize before.

Class insights…

Efthymios Skoufas (Greece):

What did you learn from this course?

It was quite impressive to see how the course content adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was re-organized around the interests and the needs of the students who were interested to work on issues related to the pandemic, while still covering the basic principles of management. We focused on management strategies and ways to implement them, along with a broader discussion about how to bring change to an organization, company or group. The course kicked off with a tailored assessment of each country’s pandemic response, delivered by each student. Then we split up into groups and developed scoping reviews and case studies on topics related to COVID-19, with a management perspective and based off the WHO health system building blocks.

What did you like the most about the course?

It felt like this course was communicated in the most efficient way when having online interactive sessions. The course philosophy was to reduce the number of meetings & lectures, focusing on holding them only when relevant for the learning outcomes and assignments. When combined with the use of an online whiteboard and breakout rooms, the Zoom meetings came close to resembling an actual classroom. Additionally, the willingness and ability to re-design the course content according to the COVID-19 pandemic was a strong motivation to go the extra mile and strive for mastery of the assignment at hand. Finally, at the end of the course, I was excited to realize that some of the management strategies we were taught about, were applied to our student working groups throughout the whole time

Was this course what you expected? How?

I honestly did not know what to expect from a management course, due to coming from a pure health sciences background (BPharm). However, I did come out of the course with a very vivid interest in the subject and a clear understanding of how integrated and valuable management aspects are in almost every working project. That holds especially true in times of crisis, like the one we face now. When working in healthcare, it is quite easy to get lost in the purely clinical or laboratory aspects of the job. The need for calculated, adaptable, and effective management of human and financial resources is therefore crucial.

Tess Higgins (Australia):

What did you learn from this course?

We learned about change management strategies and adaptive leadership responses. It is important to be able to empower people to act and stay steady, using either humanistic and cohesive approaches or calculated and controlling approaches depending on the situation. We also had an introduction to scoping reviews, which I thought was interesting and really a great learning experience.

What did you like the most about the course?

I liked that this course truely reflected real-world, real-time management techniques, using COVID-19 as a backdrop. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we are enrolled in this course during a global pandemic, and have a slightly surreal chance to study global health responses as they unfold. Of course, the introduction to management using the WHO building blocks was interesting, but the context in which we studied them was amazing.

Was this course what you expected? How?

The course was not entirely what I expected. I had been looking forward to writing a case study specific to my area of interest back home. However, due to COVID-19, we were unable to do this for a myriad of reasons. Fortunately, our course instructors were able to adapt the course content to reflect up-to-date global management techniques of the pandemic and how health services are currently being affected or are being adapted. This lead to a very interesting, very real investigation of health and medical care management.

Hope you enjoyed the last course review of the first year. It was a wholesome way to end our first half of the master’s programme even considering the conditions, which makes it remarkable!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Yours truly,

Julio Sosa.


Instagram: @julio.sosam


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