This article is intended to clear up any misunderstandings or sticking points about careers in healthcare administration. In general, these careers require training and or experience in both health care and management. A masters degree in healthcare administration is considered the standard credential, however, in some cases, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient preparation for entry-level positions. Although healthcare administration positions are ‘executive level’ jobs, they often require long hours that may include being ‘on call’ for emergency situations.
About Healthcare Administration Work
The role of healthcare administrators is to supervise the delivery of healthcare. This includes planning, directing and coordinating the care. Healthcare administrators are sometimes referred to as healthcare executives or medical and health services managers. Within these groups you will find both specialists and generalists. Specialists have a specific area of specialty, that is, they are in charge of a specific department, service, or area of practice. Generalists are those healthcare administrators that manage an entire system or facility.
Because of the general restructuring of healthcare, many changes are taking place within the system. This includes an increased focus on preventive care and a need to improve both the quality of care provided as well as the efficiency with which it is provided. Those needs have resulted in a greater demand for healthcare administrators.
Smaller organizations may be led by a single health care administrator that handles the details of daily operations. This could include a health care administrator at an out-patient clinic or a nursing home administrator. These individuals deal with budgets, the delivery of patient care, managing personnel and more. In large healthcare organizations there will likely be assistant administrators that perform similar duties and that aid the head administrator(s).
Clinical managers have specific responsibilities that are related to a specific clinical area. Therefore, these individuals must have specialized training or experience that enables them to efficiently establish and implement policies and procedures for their departments, evaluate staff and the quality of work provided, develop budgets and reports, and develop and maintain working relationships with other managers.
Another area of work in the healthcare administration field is that of health information managers. All healthcare organizations must maintain electronic patient records and these records must be kept secure. Health information managers are responsible for overseeing this. To do so they must stay current with any laws or regulations pertaining to healthcare records and be knowledgeable about computer and software technology that can be used to keep databases current, accurate and complete, as well as secure.
Small groups of physicians that work together often employ an administrator to overseer billing and collection matters, personnel issues, budgeting, planning, patient flow, and equipment outlays. Larger practices may have a chief administrator as well as one or more assistant administrators to ensure that the day-to-day practice operates smoothly and efficiently. If assistant administrators are employed, each will likely be responsible for a specific area of focus.
Similar functions are required of medical and health services managers in managed care settings. The difference is that these individuals must deal with more employees and may have to manage more preventive care and community outreach work.
As mentioned earlier, healthcare administrators may be required to work long hours. Many healthcare managers have very comfortable and private offices, but others must share spaces with their peers or other staff of the organization. Administrators may also be ‘on call’ around the clock, and therefore, they may have to work at odd hours.
Master of Health Administration Courses, Licensure & More
It is essential that healthcare administrators are familiar with management principles and practices; therefore, every quality online master in healthcare administration program will address that. Although a degree in a particular field and work experience may suffice for someone that wants to become head of a clinical department, a masters degree in healthcare administration will probably be required for advancements.
Nursing care facility administrators, and in some states, administrators in assisted-living facilities, must at minimum, have a bachelor’s degree and they must pass a licensing examination. In addition, the individuals must complete a state-approved training program and pursue continuing education.
One of the certifications health information managers often earn is that of a Registered Health Information Administrator. This certification is provided through the American Health Information Management Association. Most healthcare administrators advance their careers by moving into more responsible positions and as they move up their pay increases. In many cases this may involve moving to a larger facility.
Abbey Cunningham enjoys writing about different issues related to healthcare. According to her, health administrators have wonderful careers. In fact, Cunningham says the online are presented in a way that is flexible and progressive, which makes the program stress-free.