As life expectancy rates continues to climb in developed nations and technology continually advances healthcare treatment and outcomes, the entire healthcare industry is rapidly increasing in the need for qualified professionals. This need moves beyond physicians and nurses and extends to healthcare administrators, who coordinate healthcare management for a variety of settings, ranging from large hospitals to more intimate family clinics.
For those who are interested in the medical field but are also passionate about the world of business operations, healthcare administration is a rewarding career. Besides giving professionals the opportunity to lead teams in medicine, it also is a growing field with ample opportunity. The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports the job outlook for medical and health services managers is expected to grow 17 percent between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average rate for other fields. If working with diverse parties within a healthcare setting to improve efficiency and deliver better care to patients sounds appealing to you, here are factors to consider regarding a career in healthcare administration.
Healthcare Administration Education
Because healthcare administration professional are in manager roles overseeing teams or whole departments, an education that fulfills manager requirements is imperative for those interested in such a role. The Occupational Outlook Handbook reports the 2015 median pay for medical and health services managers was $94,500 a year, with much more opportunity for growth based on graduate education, such as obtaining a master’s in healthcare administration. Online programs allow those who already work in healthcare, such as nurses, to learn a strikingly different side to healthcare management and pursue a leadership opportunity that may not be available in their current role.
When considering a healthcare administration education to lead to a fulfilling career, look for a program that teaches:
- Leadership and management skills
- Quick decision-making tactics
- Time management and organization
- Current trends in healthcare and future outlooks
Programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education are particularly desirable for hiring staffs, because they ensure quality of curriculum.
What to Expect in the Daily Life of a Healthcare Administrator
If you think the demands of a surgeon or emergency room technician are rigorous, know that the role of a healthcare administrator is just as vital to ensuring quality care for patients who come through the door, or receive care through virtual channels. Some of the duties of a healthcare administrator may include:
Implementing strategies to successfully handle increasing patient numbers. Hospital & Health Networks reports one of the top 2016 trends in healthcare is the stable need for patient services. Emergency departments are expected to be capacity-constrained, and it is up to healthcare administrators to adequately allot resources to get excellent care for the most patients.
Deciding the interaction between physical care and virtual care. One of the most prominent trends across healthcare fields is the rise of telemedicine, which Fortune magazine cites as one of the most notable healthcare trends of 2016. Healthcare administrators determine what role their staff will play in telemedicine, who they will deliver on-demand healthcare to, and what telemedicine services they will offer.
Determining how to make current healthcare policies and laws more beneficial for the organization. From the availability of care to patients who need it, to the capabilities of your current staff in what they can deliver to those they work with, a thorough understanding of current healthcare policies and laws is essential to running an effective organization.
In addition to these important roles, a healthcare administrator may work with investors and governing boards, may coordinate various heads of departments, and may assist in duties such as staff scheduling and supplies inventory. Every day is different for healthcare administrators, which is what makes the career so exciting.
Is a Career in Healthcare Administration Right for You?
Healthcare administration is an attractive career option for current students and those who already work in healthcare because the position offers leadership and management roles in a booming industry. While removed from dealing individually with patients in the way doctors and nurses do, healthcare administrators must execute big-picture goals by focusing on implementing important details and motivating a staff to achieve them.
If healthcare administration sounds like an attractive career path, a highly reputable education is a vital part of achieving the desired role in a thriving setting. Healthcare administrators must have strong communication skills, excellent organizational traits, a love for collaboration, and a research-driven mind. Since the landscape is constantly changing according to new technological developments, the ability to stay agile and adapt strategies to make processes more efficient with the aid of technology is another vital skill someone must possess to have a successful healthcare administration career.