HealthManagement, Volume 15, Issue 3/2013


Klaus Watzinger

[email protected]

Some decades ago the training and education of hospital managers was quite different than today. Many managers completed special educations for public companies or studied business and administration but there was no special training or education for hospital employees and managers. This lack of appropriate education inspired some engaged hospital managers to find a solution to this problem together with colleagues of the Association of Austrian Hospital Managers. Over several months they created a project in this context that included adequate training for hospital managers to better fulfil their duties. After this period of organisation, it was implemented as a pilot project.

The Foundation of the Austrian Institute of Healthcare

After this successful beginning, the Association of Austrian Hospital Managers decided to found its own establishment for training and education, and consequently, named it the Austrian Institute of Health Care Management (AIH). The general objectives were to offer training and  related to practice for employees and managers of healthcare organisations and to offer these programmes at the lowest price possible so that as many people as possible could take advantage of the courses.


More than thirty years ago, on December 21st 1982, the foundation of the AIH was accredited. The general assembly of members is the same as the general assembly of the Association of Austrian Hospital Managers. So the two are closely connected. Furthermore there is a managing-committee with a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer and also deputies of these three roles.


The Activities of the AIH

The general assembly decides general rules of activities and elects the members of the managing- committee. The committee decides on the programme of training and education, its contents and leaders, who are also experienced practitioners from healthcare organisations.


The leaders of training and education courses organise them in detail, engage excellent lecturers from universities or  practitioners from healthcare organisations, hold examinations and after many other activities they hand the well-earned certificates out to the course participants.


More than twenty years ago a cooperation with the Vienna University of Economics and Business was decided. A scientific leader from the university contributes his knowledge to organise the training and education. Participants with a university degree have the opportunity to do a follow-up post-graduate study at the university.


In addition to the high-grade university study for managers, many other training and education programmes are offered for employees and managers of healthcare organisations. These are common courses for all healthcare professionals, for example a human resources management course, or special programmes for specified professionals, for example controller, buyer, secretaries, cooks, engineers and others.


Certified Course for Hospital Managers

This is an excellent course of management education for active managers and managers of the future for all healthcare professionals. A following post-graduate study at the university is possible.


The course takes two and a half years with each semester as a two week block allowing managers to continue with their day jobs. In total the duration of the theoretical education is about 60 days. The course participants have to complete ten examinations and three theses successfully, one of them as a master thesis. The universitary degree confirms 64 ECTS-points.


Content of the Course of Certified Hospital Managers

The subjects microeconomics, health economics, international healthcare systems comparison and public health are part of a common knowledge transfer for healthcare systems and economics. Furthermore, the most important basic legal knowledge for hospital managers is imparted.


Controlling, cost accounting, financing and bookkeeping are useful subjects for daily business of hospital managers. Managers of allhealthcare institutions also need training in communication, leadership, human resources management and teamwork.


The education is completed with the subjects hospital organisation, marketing and public relations, computer science, project management, quality and process management, basics of medicine and care, ethics, nutrition science, hospital hygiene, planning and building of hospitals, hospital technologies and facility management.


In writing the thesis, participants develop skills in scientific research and a study trip to another country ensures students learn about foreign healthcare systems, their structure and financing.



Since more than thirty years around 400 highly qualified managers of healthcare organisations, mainly hospital managers, have been successfully trained by the Austrian Institute of Health Care Management. Additionally, thousands of employees and other managers of healthcare organisations are educated in common and special courses.


All course participants consider the training and education programmes as important qualifications for their jobs. Some of them get involved later with the AIH as leaders of courses or lecturers and transfer their knowlegde in addition to their wide professional experience.


Therefore, a circuit of knowlegde transfer has been developed with a perfect update of the necessary knowledge due to the constantly changing conditions of hospital management – a perfect knowledge management.

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