Healthcare is an ever-evolving field, often affected by new technologies and changing government policies. For example, in the United States, the integration of information technology with healthcare had led to a mandate that all patient records be tracked electronically. Also in the United States, the recent unveiling of the Affordable Care Act will likely affect the field in significant ways. The good news is that overall, healthcare management and administration jobs are on the rise, and are expected to grow by 22% between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That being said, some jobs are considered more "in-demand" than others. In fact, recently some companies have created entirely new positions open to healthcare administrators.
Chief Medical Officers – $340,092
People in this administrative position work closely with chief financial and chief executive officers, but the job requires a more involved knowledge of healthcare. For this reason, people in this position are often doctors who completed medical school or a physician training program, and have since moved on from medical practice to an administrative position. The position mostly exists within larger companies (think Facebook or Hewlett-Packard) who have built their own medical centers to defray the costs of healthcare to employees. The CMO advises the board and CEO on regulatory issues and ensures that all practitioners are being compliant.
Medical Billers and Coders – $32,350
Although their salaries are much lower than that of CMO's, people in this position also go to school for a significantly shorter period of time. In some cases billers and coders have bachelor's degrees, but more often they have an associate's degree or a specialty certificate. The job outlook for these professionals is good, as the demand for qualified people is increasing, mostly due to reimbursement rates and shifting regulations on claims.
Vice Presidents of the Patient Experience – $150,000 – $250,000
This is a relatively new position that was invented within hospitals to help them deliver high quality care. Hospitals are frequently graded on a scoring system called HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). When scores drop too low, the administration can't get the reimbursement it needs. In a competitive environment where the highest-scoring facilities receive the most and sharing ratings is as easy as clicking a mouse, hospitals are investing in VP's of the Patient Experience to keep an eye on how to keep scores up. Salaries depend on the size of the hospital.
Informatics Officers – $34,160 – $156,874
The salary range within this career is so large because income depends on a person's rank. People in entry-level officer positions earn wages at the lower end of the scale, while chief informatics officers earn near the top of the range. Just like CMO's, informatics officers (especially those near the top) are often MDs who have moved into an administrative role. They compile surveys from patients, physicians, and staff to make informed decisions on organizational changes. Because the federal government now requires that records are kept up to a certain standard, these officers process and maintain the records in a way that follows regulatory, ethical, and legal requirements.
Iris Stone has worked as a freelance writer since 2011. Her writing has included content on medicine, healthcare, and education, although her interests are wide and varied. Prior to breaking into the freelance biz, Iris worked in sales for a health company and prior to that as an assistant in a chiropractic office. She is currently attending George Mason University and is majoring in Community Health. For more info, see her Google+ Profile.