There are lots of different career paths you could follow if you decide to work in healthcare. Besides caring for patients, administrative duties in healthcare settings are vital to the efficient running of these facilities. Administrative responsibilities in hospitals are handled by professionals known as healthcare administrators. We are going to take a high-level view of this very important position and understand who healthcare administrators are and what they do.
Healthcare administrators are also known as healthcare managers or health services managers, and they are responsible for the operations of different types of healthcare facilities including hospitals, health systems, and other types of health organizations.
Depending on the facilities they work in, their roles and responsibilities can vary greatly, but they generally include being responsible for the level of services provided the facilities, the staff, payroll, different healthcare programs as well as relationships between the facilities they represent and other facilities. They also handle different management functions depending on the exact job description they have.
Becoming a Healthcare Administrator
Your journey to becoming a healthcare administrator will start with a bachelor’s degree. Note that this is only adequate for entry-level positions at smaller facilities like clinics and community hospitals. For a higher position, you will need a master’s degree. The master’s degree program is usually a two-year program at most universities, with these universities offering online programs that allow you to continue working while working towards your degree.
The master’s degree you need can be a Masters of Business Administration, a Masters of Healthcare Administration, or a Master of Public Health. The master’s degree you have will determine your ability to land a job, so it is important to maintain excellent academic records at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
In some cases, you might also need some experience in healthcare in the form of a residency, supervised internship, or fellowship. If you can display applied experience within the healthcare industry, this can help you to make a smoother change within the industry. Many people start with nursing degrees, but progress from RN (Associate Degree in Nursing) to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). You can complete these RN to MSN online programs in your spare time, so you can gradually work towards the role. A combination of education and experience can work better in your favour.
What Do Health Administrators Do?
What do healthcare administrators do and how do their responsibilities differ to those of other professionals? In many facilities, hospital administrators are usually at the managerial level, so many of their duties are similar to those of managers in other types of organizations.
One of their most important duties is staff supervision. Hospital administrators are responsible for hiring new medical and other types of staff, handling all their paperwork, setting work schedules, obtaining feedback from staff on areas of improvement, as well as performing evaluations on how different members of staff are doing.
In some healthcare facilities, they are also tasked with managing billing and payments. In this role, they ensure payments from patients and to insurance companies are processed and organized the right way. They might also be tasked with streamlining the payment processes by introducing new billing software and tools, plus guiding other administrators on how to handle the new payment and billing processes.
Administrators are also responsible for ensuring everything at the healthcare facility they are responsible for is in working order. This includes all equipment and other items like lightbulbs or even vital medical equipment.
All healthcare facilities must comply with all the laws of the jurisdictions they are located in. Hospital administrators are responsible for ensuring this compliance. They are also tasked with ensuring everyone working under them understands these laws and remains compliant with all of them at all times.
When challenges come up, healthcare administrators will work with other members of staff to resolve them. This includes handling challenges like nursing shortages or changes in the amount and sources of funding from different partners or the government.
Hospital administrators are also tasked with setting organizational goals and developing strategies and plans on how to meet these goals.
Skills Hospital Administrators Need
Hospital administrators have to have strong organizational skills. This is because they work with a lot of documents and medical data while managing employees and ensuring their healthcare facilities keep running.
Leadership and managerial skills are also vital. Hospital administrators recruit and hire employees while onboarding the new employees and supervising all members of staff who work under them. Their managerial skills are vital to ensuring all teams perform at the levels expected of them for the success of the healthcare facility.
Communication between different leaders within and outside the healthcare facility falls under the purview of a hospital administrator. Diplomacy and good communication skills are required to be successful and forge relationships with these leaders.
Hospital administrators do a lot and have some of the most exciting careers in healthcare. Becoming a healthcare administrator might take longer than it does to hold other positions in healthcare, but it remains one of the most fulfilling career options for healthcare professionals.