Healthcare, a field that continues to grow and evolve, offers an ever-expanding range of career options and opportunities to healthcare managers within the industry. From high-profile roles to behind-the-scenes posts and public positions, there is a wealth of opportunities for individuals to consider. This has been made possible thanks to continuous advancements and technological breakthroughs within the healthcare sector.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment rate in the healthcare management industry in the US will grow by 28% between 2021 and 2031, which is significantly faster than average and indicates high demand in this field as a whole.
What is healthcare management?
The term healthcare management, also known as healthcare administration, refers to the supervision and management of healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, hospital networks and healthcare systems. Healthcare managers are responsible for providing leadership and direction to different units within a healthcare organization to ensure that nurses and doctors administer high-quality care at every level.
Instead of working on the frontline and providing various treatments and medical care alongside doctors, nurses and other medical providers, healthcare managers work behind the scenes and ensure that all the available resources and types of equipment are used efficiently, jobs are defined and assessed correctly, proper work conditions are maintained in medical facilities, and qualified staff are hired as needed.
If you are planning to pursue a career in healthcare management, you are likely to start your professional career in an entry-level or mid-level management role. This position may focus on a specific area, such as:
- Human resources
- Patient care services
- Medical staff relations
- Nursing home administration
- Government relations
The healthcare management industry is among the most popular and highest-paid professions. Apart from offering a competitive salary, it also presents strong job growth, making it an appealing career opportunity for those interested in healthcare as well as business.
Job settings for healthcare managers
Given the extensive variety of roles and positions available to healthcare managers, it is safe to say that these individuals are in high demand and can be found in the following organizations and settings:
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Research laboratories
- Government agencies
- Outpatient care facilities
- Public health departments
- Physician practices
- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- Health insurance organizations
Responsibilities of a healthcare manager
The field of healthcare management demands skillful individuals who can handle the task of introducing and managing the continuous developments that are taking place within the healthcare industry. The responsibilities of a healthcare manager tend to vary depending on their exact roles:
- Performing cost-benefit analysis to improve the financial position of healthcare organizations.
- Overseeing tasks such as contracting, billing, human resources, supplies and budgets.
- Making sure that the medical equipment is inspected and maintained properly.
- Ensuring patient confidentiality and regulatory compliance.
- Ensuring that healthcare organizations possess adequate physical security as well as information technology security.
- Providing direction and guidance to the staff and communicating organizational aims and objectives.
- Maintaining positive patient relations by making sure that the employees are treating patients in a kind, compassionate and professional manner.
- Coordinating staff schedules, managing time-off requests, and arranging cover.
- Designing, revising and implementing policies and procedures.
- Supervising efficient revenue cycle operations, forecasting expenses and developing/managing budgets.
Top career options available for healthcare managers
Whether you are just beginning your healthcare career or looking to take the next step, you must first acquire the proper healthcare management degree. One such degree is an MBA in healthcare management, which you can achieve by joining the top-ranking online program offered by Walsh University. This program can unlock the doors to a vast range of exciting career paths and opportunities as it prepares its graduates to look at the industry from multiple perspectives, build critical thinking skills to handle different scenarios, and devise working and communication strategies accordingly.
Some of the roles and career opportunities available to healthcare managers are given below.
Healthcare consultants are analysts who work in different healthcare organizations and help them recognize opportunities to reduce costs and increase revenue and offer advice to assist them in overcoming obstacles and meeting objectives without having to sacrifice the quality of care. On top of possessing excellent interpersonal and communication skills, an individual must have a strong understanding of healthcare-related operations, be familiar with industry trends, and have a firm background in business to determine efficiencies and methods for implementation.
Professionals working in this role usually work for a private healthcare consulting company or own their own consulting business. Individuals can also take up flexible work options such as remote or freelance opportunities. According to the BLS, management analyst jobs (which include consultants) are expected to experience an 11% growth between 2021 and 2031.
Nursing home administrators
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities provide the highest level of care outside of hospitals for elders. This vulnerable population demands quality care, and nursing home managers are primarily responsible for making sure that their facility satisfies these demands. These individuals supervise staff, monitor finances and building maintenance, oversee residents’ care, and implement new policies for their staff and residents. They might also offer tours to new clients visiting the facility, explain what they have to offer, and answer any queries that the potential resident or their family may have.
Becoming a nursing home manager may help prepare you for the administrative facet of your career and provide you with a perception of the special requirement of patients. These individuals manage the entire facility, while specialists primarily focus on the administration of specific departments such as finance, marketing or policy analysis.
Hospital/healthcare CEOs and CFOs
Chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) play an important role in medical organizations. CEOs are generally responsible for almost every aspect of how hospitals perform, the overall function of the hospital, the quality of patient care, staffing and profitability.
CFOs are members of the executive teams who focus on a medical organization’s finances. They ensure that the organization is operating in the most cost-efficient manner possible, managing all financial risks, handling financial planning and overseeing financial recordkeeping. Additionally, CFOs must work alongside the CEO and other members of upper management and keep them informed about the facility’s financial standing.
The roles of CEO and CFO often come with additional perks and benefits, such as profit sharing, bonuses and incentives.
Hospital administrators typically work in hospitals, medical centers, clinics, nursing homes, research hospitals and other institutions to ensure that these facilities run successfully and efficiently. They are responsible for hiring doctors, nurses and other medical workers; conducting employee evaluations; instituting new medical policies and procedures; and developing budgets.
Hospital administrators also arrange professional development opportunities and make sure that facilities comply with the current state of federal laws and professional guidelines. They mostly work in an office setting within traditional business hours. However, as hospitals remain open 24/7, they may also be required to work evenings and weekends.
Health services manager and administrator
These medical professionals develop, strategize, manage and coordinate systems and run operations for government agencies, medical facilities, insurance companies, specific clinical departments, private companies, or a group medical practice. They safeguard individuals and communities with health services, insurance coverage, education and new programs to promote better health.
Combining healthcare trends, business savvy and knowledge about IT, health service managers work alongside EHRs, EMRs and frontline healthcare workers to guarantee regulatory compliance and plan for the growing number of medical services and staff that will be required to provide care for baby boomers with longer lifespans. This position is ideal for healthcare professionals who aspire to advance and take on an administrative role.
Pharmaceutical project manager
These individuals are hired by medical facilities to oversee the development of new drugs, develop promotional plans for these drugs, launch advertising campaigns, keep research records, and assemble teams to analyze drug therapies’ benefits and side effects. Other responsibilities may include arranging clinical trials, analyzing investments, ensuring compliance with regulatory bodies, and conducting market-penetration studies.
Pharmaceutical project managers usually work with chemists, biochemical engineers, technicians, marketing professionals and physicians. Most pharmaceutical firms tend to hire individuals who have an MBA in healthcare, a few years of consulting experience in pharmaceuticals, strong science backgrounds and strong IT skills.
Healthcare marketing manager
As the name suggests, healthcare marketing managers are professionals who are responsible for directing activities related to sales and marketing for healthcare facilities. They plan, coordinate, direct and evaluate an institution’s marketing strategies. Senior executives oversee the internal sales staff to ensure that the advertising and promotional initiatives meet targeted aims and goals.
For instance, a marketing manager for a long-term care institution is responsible for achieving occupancy targets and making sure that the brand is prominent and respected in the community. In contrast, sales managers at healthcare technology organizations raise awareness and adoption of the offered products or services.
If you are thinking about becoming a healthcare manager, why not look into the right programs that will put you on track to become one!