Administrator talking with a doctor at the hospital. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
As kids, when most of us thought of a career in healthcare, we pictured ourselves as doctors or nurses in scrubs, a stethoscope around our necks, chatting to patients and taking down notes. But healthcare is a vast industry and it’s so much more than just doctors and nurses.
Think of a hospital or any health facility and apart from the patients and physicians scurrying around. There are others, like the front-desk officer booking your next physician’s appointment, people handling and organizing patient records and other paperwork, and the behind-the-scenes executives who make sure the health care facility is running smoothly. Yes, I’m talking about healthcare administration, the people who use their business skills to efficiently manage the day-to-day operations of a health care facility.
Healthcare administration – a brief overview
The world of health care is rapidly evolving; and hospitals and other healthcare facilities must be equipped to manage and regulate complex healthcare delivery systems. That’s where people with a degree in healthcare administration step in. They make sure the business functions without a glitch and this involves a vast network of people, from those involved in finance and human resources to the ones handling public relations and IT systems. Several vocational training institutes, such as the Porter and Chester Institute offer programs in healthcare administration and a career in healthcare administration throws open a bunch of choices for you, some of which are listed below.
1. Nursing Home Administrator
They supervise nursing homes, managing every aspect of the facility such as the occupants, including the residents and staff, finances, and administration. It’s their job to make sure that the nursing home abides by the local and federal rules and regulations. This position demands a bachelor’s degree in health administration or long-term care administration; but some organizations may require you to have a master’s degree. Nursing home administrators must pass the state licensing examination before they embark upon a career.
2. Administrative Medical Assistant
Often the first person to greet us when we enter a doctor’s office or hospital, a medical assistant has a very important role to play in the day-to-day operations of the medical facility. Apart from regular office duties such as answering phone calls and managing inventory, they maintain patients’ medical records, interview patients ahead of the doctor visit, schedule appointments, and liaise with insurance companies to fill and complete paperwork. It can be the perfect choice for beginners on the brink of a brand new career!
3. Medical Office Manager
This position is suitable for people with a few years’ experience under their belt. It can be one of the many career advancement options for people who have previously worked as administrative medical assistants. They oversee the day-to-day operations of a medical office, and their job duties may include hiring, training, supervising anddelegating responsibilities among the office staff, developing and maintaining office procedures, and managing medical billing and records and accounting services. They’re also responsible for keeping educational brochures and reference material ready for patients.
4. Healthcare Consultant
This career is ideal for people with excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to research and develop plans and projects that enhance the workability of an existing healthcare system or solve any issues that plague it. Apart from a degree in healthcare administration, a background in business, management, economics, a medical specialty and being familiar with different aspects of the healthcare industry will come in extremely handy for anyone eyeing this career.
5. Hospital Administrator
Just like the title suggests, hospital administrators are responsible for masterminding the operations of any large health facility, be it a hospice, an outpatient care clinic, or a rehab center. It’s their job to make sure that the entire facility functions seamlessly without compromising on quality patient care. They recruit medical staff, oversee budgets, and coordinate and control all health services. While a bachelor’s degree is a must to secure this position, larger organizations may require candidates to have a master’s degree along with several years of experience.
Healthcare administration incorporates a large gamut of medical professions, so it would be wise to carefully explore all your options before you settle on any one. Look for reputed and accredited institutes offering healthcare administration programs. A career in healthcare administration fulfills our inner desire to help people, although indirectly, and also allows us to be an essential component of any health care system, without which it would come to a grinding halt!