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Training the next generation of health entrepreneurs

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Medical students receive excellent clinical training but they often graduate not knowing how to run a practice as a business.
MediSwitch, a unit of JSE-listed Altron, is helping to change this by investing time and resources in training medical students by giving them advice on entering the business environment as healthcare practitioners.
MediSwitch, which has trained more than 200 students, offers practice management talks once a year to University of Witwatersrand physiotherapy students, as well as University of the Western Cape dentistry students.
Mteto Nyati, Altron chief executive, comments : “Healthcare is one of the focus areas for growth for the Altron group, and the MediSwitch team is not only offering healthcare practice solutions to the healthcare industry but also extending their expertise to benefit medical students in getting them ready for the business world.
“Entrepreneurship and small and medium businesses are the bedrock of SA’s economy. It is generally accepted that small and medium businesses contribute about half of SA’s gross domestic product. Our training allows medical professionals to focus on why they went into healthcare practice in the first place,” he adds.
Doloress Nkosi, services manager at Mediswitch, says: “Many students coming out of university are not always equipped in terms of setting up a practice. They face challenges with billing and dealing with medical aids, which includes understanding the importance of coding correctly so they can receive payment timeously.”
The company’s practice management advisory sessions for the medical students cover a range of topics such as: which medical bodies to register with, the importance of location, practice administration, management of patient records, claims and online payments, as well as improving cash flow.
“Providing medical students with the right skills to successfully run their own is important to the Altron group — expanding healthcare to all sectors of society in South Africa, and providing young entrepreneurs with the skills to stimulate economic growth, reduce unemployment levels, and contribute to alleviating poverty,” Nkosi says.