Healthcare administration is a uniquely rewarding field. People who work in healthcare administration have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping patients and doctors improve the quality of their lives.
There are many careers within healthcare administration, geared toward people with different backgrounds. Seth Whitmer, a leader in the field of healthcare administration, explores the different careers that are possible within the field and provides helpful suggestions for people who want to enter it.
The Field of Healthcare Administration
Professionals in the field of healthcare administration are focused on the well-being of the community or the patients they serve. They analyze the need for healthcare programs based on local conditions. Health administrators work to ensure that hospital networks, healthcare systems, and hospitals operate with the best possible efficiency and quality of care. Much of their time is spent with other healthcare professionals. They work in teams to identify potential system problems, mend or create relationships, identify potential problems and plan for resolutions.
In order to work in the field of healthcare administration, there are certain educational requirements that must be met. Many people in healthcare administration have degrees in business and finance with a Master Health Administration (MHA) and a Master Business Administration (MBA). Other specialist degrees include a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and a Master of Health Informatics and Analytics.
While there may be jobs available for people with bachelor’s degrees in healthcare administration, it is recommended to obtain a master’s degree if individuals want to enter the higher levels of administration. There may not be much room for advancement with a bachelor’s degree alone. Doctorate degrees are also available in the field, but are used primarily in education or research.
Job Functions of the Healthcare Administrator
At its core, the job of a healthcare administrator is centered around making the system work for patients and doctors alike. They may be in charge of a hospital, a single medical practice or a group of practices, or a department within a hospital. Additionally healthcare administrators can run a nursing home, serve in the military in various capacities, work in other healthcare administration responsibilities with in the federal government, as well as insurance companies.
Some important job functions of the healthcare administrator include planning, coordination, and implementation of medical services. Healthcare administrators must possess a certain level of knowledge about policy and laws, as well as any issues that may affect planning and development. They must often attend meetings with governing boards and community stake holders.
They need to keep lines of communication between heads of departments and medical staff open at all times. They work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their institution. Also, healthcare administrators are in charge of the daily operations of the healthcare system where billing, fees, salaries, hiring, and scheduling are concerned.
Healthcare Administrators Are in Demand
Practice management or management of physician offices has seen much growth over the last several years but seems to have leveled out over the last year. While some fields within healthcare administration are growing some are also shrinking. Healthcare has seen a lot of changes within the last 10 years. Many independents and systems have consolidated while others have also expanded. According to the Department of Labor, healthcare administration jobs are projected to grow 23 percent between 2012 and 2022. Nursing home administration is a field that will see particular growth in the future. As the aging population requires more care, more nursing homes will open.
Careers Within Healthcare Administration
Human resource managers are an important part of healthcare administration. Managers of social and community service perform crucial functions as well. Social and community service managers are projected to grow by 21 percent, and the average annual salary for these positions is $65,000.
Managers skilled in training and development are needed to keep healthcare professionals’ skills up to date. Practice managers help physicians with the daily details of their jobs. Practice managers will grow by 23 percent before the year 2022, and their average annual salary is approximately $78,000.
Finally, health insurance specialists provide a vital service to the public by helping them navigate difficult insurance requirements and billing. The demand for health insurance professionals is expected to grow by 22 percent, and the average annual salary is $37,000.
Skills Needed by Healthcare Administrators
Healthcare administrators require specialized training because their jobs are complex with little room for error, claims Seth Whitmer. When healthcare administrators do their jobs, they are required to have a handle on many personal and business skills.
They must have excellent management skills, handling staffing issues, budgets, and operations including other facets of the field. Being able to manage a field in which there are many strong personalities is important, as doctors and administrators frequently do not see eye to eye. Healthcare administrators need to have the ability to be peacemakers and good listeners.
They need to have a strong and analytical eye for detail. They must be able to make decisive and consistent decisions involving many doctors and patients. Their communication skills must be top-notch, and they must be creative thinkers.
Entering the Field of Healthcare Administration
When a person wants to enter the field of healthcare administration, they should keep the above requirements in mind. Healthcare administration is a fast-paced career that requires a great deal of involvement.
Healthcare administrators can take a great deal of satisfaction in their jobs, knowing that they are keeping the system moving as efficiently and compassionately as possible. Seth Whitmer encourages prospective healthcare administrators to do as much research in the field as possible before choosing a profession.