A senior medical director oversees a medical facility or a department within a medical services firm. In many instances, a senior medical director is responsible for managing employees who conduct research or provide services for people with a specific type of ailment or injury. Medical directors largely perform the same functions as senior directors although the latter are generally more experienced individuals who receive a higher level of compensation.
Within a medical facility or department, the senior medical director is responsible for making budgetary decisions. The director usually has a hand in the hiring, training and termination of employees and the director directly or indirectly decides how much the department should spend on wages. Directors in research departments are responsible for allocating funds to doctors and scientists. In hospitals, surgeries, and other medical facilities, the director must budget funds to purchase supplies and equipment. Some directors are also tasked with finding ways to expand operations to increase revenues for the firm that operates the facility.
Aside from financial management, a senior medical director must oversee the daily activities of staff members. Researchers may seek advice from the director when testing new vaccinations or remedies. Doctors and nurses may ask the director for direction when dealing with complex cases or unusual types of the medical conditions. The director has the ultimate responsibility for assigning doctors and surgeons to patients and for deciding which cases the facility should refer to other medical providers. When disputes arise between employees, the director has the responsibility for resolving issues so directors must have good interpersonal and man management skills.
A senior medical director must develop good working relationships with pharmaceutical companies and insurance providers. Some drug companies offer discounts to medical facilities that prescribe certain types of drugs; for many insurance plans, firms offer discounted rates to patients who receive services at certain facilities. The director must develop strategic partnerships with such firms. In some countries, government agencies operate hospitals and other health service facilities in which case the director must make regular reports to government agencies and ensure funds are spent in accordance with local rules.
Medical directors are responsible for handling both medical related issues and business matters. Consequently, directors are normally experienced physicians who successfully completed medicine degrees and medical school. In some instances, a director must have a degree in a specific type of medicine such as oncology or radiology. Additionally, directors are usually required to have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in business administration, management, finance or a related field of study.