Healthcare administration is an interdisciplinary field that combines health policies, science and business to improve healthcare for patients. It encompasses various levels of administrative and healthcare authority from managers in small medical facilities to CEOs of large, major hospital systems. Healthcare administration is the part of a hospital or medical facility responsible for ensuring that patients receive the best care possible. Here is an overview of healthcare administration, including how to become a hospital administrator and what the career entails.
What is Healthcare Administration?
Healthcare administration is an area of a hospital that has the task of ensuring everything runs smoothly throughout the hospital not just with patients but with employees as well. Almost everything that takes place in a hospital has to go through the hospital administration. The healthcare administration department of a hospital usually has several employees, but the hospital administrators are in charge.
What Do Healthcare Administrators Do?
Healthcare administrators plan, oversee and coordinate health and medical services. This can be a specific clinical department or an entire medical facility. Because of their varied duties, they must be adaptable to change and be knowledgeable of current healthcare regulations, laws and technology. Healthcare administrators develop objectives and goals for the hospital in an attempt to provide efficient and quality healthcare. Their other duties include the following.
- Hire, train, and supervise staff members
- Ensure the facility is in compliance with the laws
- Manage patient billing
- Represent the medical facility at board and investor meetings
- Maintain the facility's records
- Communicate with department heads and members of the medical staff
- Work closely with insurance agents, technicians, RNs, physicians, and other healthcare workers
Healthcare administrators basically have the success of a healthcare facility in their hands. If a patient or a patient's family have issues with the facility or the way it's run, it's the healthcare administrator's job to deal with this and devise an acceptable solution to the problems. They are also in charge of the hospital's budget and must ensure the hospital remains profitable while still providing the best healthcare to patients.
How to Become a Healthcare Administrator
To work as a healthcare administrator requires both education and work experience. The specific educational requirements may vary by facility. While some hospital administrators are hired with bachelor's degrees, most of them have master's degrees. The bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete, and master's degrees take an additional two years. An aspiring hospital administrator can expect to spend four to six years in school and at least another year gaining work experience. Most degrees for this position are in health management, health administration, business administration or public health administration.
Career Outlook for Healthcare Administrators
Healthcare administrators are classified as medical and health services managers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the BLS reports that these medical professionals should see an employment growth of 20 percent between 2016 and 2026. As the aging population continues to remain as active as possible, they'll need qualified medical professionals and healthcare administrators to oversee the healthcare facilities and workers. As of May 2017, medical and health services managers earned an average annual wage of $111,680.
According to the American Hospital Association, there are 5,534 registered hospitals in the United States. To keep these hospitals running smoothly and providing the best possible healthcare requires the services of a qualified and dedicated health administration system, which makes good healthcare administrators highly in demand.