The healthcare sector functions in a marketplace like any other business. Although, the nature of healthcare provision is unique in its economics and its core area of operations, i.e., improving people’s mental, physical, and social wellbeing by equitably providing diagnostic, therapeutic, medicinal, surgical, and emergency services and treatment.
Yet its operations and financial mechanisms are fundamentally like those of a business whereby the investment is made in a product or a service for a continuous return on investment through surplus revenue generated.
This similarity in fundamental operational principles is the reason healthcare organizations and hospitals promote themselves as a brand in the healthcare marketplace.
There has been an increased focus amongst healthcare organizations on adopting standard business practices for optimizing their internal operational efficiency. Businesses are known for their top-notch administration and segregation of administration functions.
The healthcare industry has started to follow the business practices by promoting healthcare administration as a field of study, role in healthcare organizations, and key department in managing day-to-day organizational operations.
However, they have taken a flexible approach that sometimes combines human resource management, administration and operations, and finance and compliance into the singular area of healthcare administration. It varies significantly with each healthcare organization and its need for administrative functions. This article will discuss everything you need to know about healthcare administration to enhance your understanding of this field.
Qualifications in Healthcare Administration
Until 2010, there were merely a handful of universities offering degree programs to study healthcare administration. Most healthcare administrator personnel entered the role with an undergraduate in business administration.
Nowadays, an aspiring pursuant for a career in healthcare administration have a wide variety of choices, from a health administration degree to MBA online program with a concentration in health administration that can be completed within a year.
It is also pertinent to note that the qualification requirements for healthcare administrators are highly varied amongst healthcare organizations and depend upon the nature of their role and position in a particular organization. These education programs provide an aspiring pursuant with the necessary academic training in healthcare management and administration.
Role and Responsibility
Healthcare administrators have a wide spectrum of functions within their domain. The common responsibilities of a healthcare administration include the management of the human resource management function and the finance, compliance, and administration function.
Under the human resource function, healthcare administrators oversee day-to-day clinical operations, develop and oversee the staff recruitment process, and manage the healthcare facility’s staff.
Under the function of finance, compliance, and administration, healthcare administrators manage the procurement and logistics for the healthcare facility, schedule of staff, and manage patient and staff records of the facility.
Healthcare administrators also ensure their institutes’ compliance with the governing healthcare regulations. Additionally, they are also the focal point for processing claims forwarded by health insurance organizations.
At a large healthcare organization, you will have a team to work with alongside the possibility of these roles being segregated into multiple managerial roles, with each function mentioned above set up as a separate department. However, in a smaller setting, you may individually be required to perform most, if not all, of these job functions.
Fundamental Skills in Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administrators are often designated to deploy and implement management information systems (MIS) for procurement, logistics, and resource allocation to optimize treatment inpatient care.
Furthermore, healthcare administrators are also responsible for budgeting, planning, and forecasting for the entire healthcare organization or facility. As part of their job to ensure institutional compliance, healthcare administrators must remain updated with changes in healthcare legislation, policies, and regulations relevant to their healthcare facility.
A Career in Healthcare Administration
The healthcare industry has placed greater emphasis on setting up healthcare administration departments and hiring individuals with academic qualifications in healthcare administration for managerial roles.
Hence, there are several opportunities for an aspiring pursuant of healthcare administration in the marketplace. You can take the first step towards this career by first enrolling and completing a healthcare administration degree.
You should subsequently look to develop your leadership and critical thinking skills to prepare yourself for the roles and responsibilities of a healthcare administrator.
Behind every healthcare facility you have ever visited, rest assured, a healthcare administrator is working incognito to ensure smooth day-to-day operations and overall operational efficiency in each of those healthcare facilities. The role is always designed to ensure quality patient care for every patient; hence it is a role with a wide domain and considerable authority.
It is one of the unique career pathways in the healthcare arena that does not warrant a medical or a nursing education with no direct interaction with patients. Many existing healthcare administrators have a background in business administration and possess the fundamental skills to fulfill the job’s demanding responsibilities.