Healthcare management is all of the work involved in ensuring smooth operations of healthcare facilities of all kinds, including hospitals, clinics, drug addiction rehabilitation and treatment centers, and elderly care facilities like nursing homes and hospices. As you might expect, these healthcare professionals have wide-ranging responsibilities, including efficient management of day-to-day healthcare facility operations, ensuring availability and maintenance of medical equipment, developing organizational goals and priorities, determining budgets and billing practices, representing the organization to the public, the media, and other audiences.
The work of healthcare management professionals is of particularly critical importance during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. They must manage healthcare facilities under enormous and unprecedented stress, as they attempt to maintain supply chains of essential equipment like testing kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff such as N-95 masks, gloves, and respirators. They also must determine proper staffing levels and safety procedures to protect both healthcare workers and patients while delivering emergency care. The public relations function of healthcare managers is also of heightened importance to maintain the flow of information about all the measures being taken.
The work of a healthcare management professional is closely linked to healthcare administration, and in fact healthcare managers may take on this role in small practices.. However, in larger organizations healthcare administration is typically a separate job that interfaces more directly with the staff of the facility. An administrator’s responsibilities include the recruiting, hiring, and evaluation of personnel, determining efficient administrative procedures, and working with doctors and nurses to ensure they are able to provide health services effectively.
Thus, healthcare administrators often serve as liaisons between healthcare managers and individual employees who are responsible for actually carrying out the work of the facility.
If you want to make a difference in people’s lives by ensuring the provision of high-quality health and social services, but don’t want to work directly with patients as a doctor or nurse, pursuing a career in healthcare management is a great opportunity. Access to healthcare is critically important for society at all times but especially during a crisis like COVID-19, and healthcare managers and administrators with strong organizational skills play a vital role in these high-pressure situations to ensure these hospitals and clinics have the resources they need to be effective in their mission.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in health services management are projected to increase 18% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is part of a projected boom in demand for healthcare services overall due to an aging population in the U.S., and similar increases can be expected in other countries around the world. And, with an average annual salary of $99,730, working in healthcare management can be a financially as well as morally rewarding career path.
In addition to healthcare managers and healthcare administrators, there are a variety of other more specific jobs that fall under the rubric of healthcare management, including clinical directors, medical records managers, doctor’s office managers, healthcare practice administrators, and more. As COVID-19 has shown us, keeping healthcare facilities functioning during a crisis can be a challenge of life and death importance, and it takes an entire organization of dedicated professionals working together to be successful.
Just like other business and administrative disciplines, learners today can use online education platforms to access top-quality courses in healthcare management remotely, on a flexible schedule, and at a lower cost than on-campus alternatives. It’s a great opportunity to launch your career in this important field, whether you are starting from scratch or looking to transition into healthcare management from related roles.