It's easy to see why the field of healthcare management is attracting so many people to the profession. After all, healthcare has become a booming industry, and everyone from hospital nurses to pharmaceutical researchers need people to manage them. People in the top tier of healthcare managers often wield considerable influence. The interests of those in healthcare impact both Wall Street bankers and government policy writers, so the people who the people who coordinate, oversee, and manage the healthcare system have both the privilege and responsibility of representing their organization's interests to some powerful people.
Necessarily, people in healthcare management are highly educated. It's the reason why more and more professionals are seeking master's degrees or even PhD's – because it takes some serious brain power to run a hospital, or nursing home, or insurance company, or pharmaceutical lab. Much of their days are spent in meetings, dealing with policy issues or making presentations about budgets or employment issues. Day-to-day decision making might include more minor policy issues or meeting with other department heads or high-level employees to make sure everything is running smoothly. At other points an administrator might take on larger projects, such as designing and funding a new hospital wing or orchestrating a buyout of another company. People who work at insurance companies might have to update their policies or curtail services frequently in response to fluctuating levels of government intervention.
The size of the job and the stress of an average day depends in part on the size of the institution. A small, outpatient rehab facility or physician's office won't take nearly as much managing. In such situations, the administrator is often the sole person in the profession, acting as a single office manager over a few administrative assistants. That being said, the fewer employees, the more left for the administrator to do, while high-level employees at larger organizations have the benefit of delegating tasks and assigning people to certain projects. In these cases, a CEO of a hospital, for example, will oversee big picture items and keep the board happy, while allowing subordinates who are also in the management level to take care of say, budgetary or human resources issues.
The type of organization also influences the areas over which the administrator has control. For instance, in a hospital, an employee might oversee an area like nursing or surgery, or might be in charge of a unit, such as those devoted to cardiovascular or neurological issues. In other situations, an administrator oversees a non-health, business-related area, like finance or public relations.
Many people agree that healthcare managers have their work cut out for them in years to come, as what is expected of them in any given day is expanding. As technology continues to permeate every conceivable aspect of society, hospitals and doctors' offices have not been immune. Records are now being kept electronically and people are paying their bills online directly from their healthcare provider's website. Insurance companies now have comprehensive websites allowing patients to search for doctors, create profiles, and even order prescriptions. Those in management now face the challenging responsibility of ushering in this new era effectively and ethically while navigating all the potential roadblocks.
This is also a day when more and more people are seeking preventative medicine. Once upon a time, a patient could avoid the doctor for years if there wasn't something egregiously wrong. But in the 21st century, people often have a rolodex of doctors, including primary care physicians whom they see regularly, health ailment or not. Healthcare managers will have to learn how to allocate resources, adjust to the shortage of doctors, and make use of facilities to shoulder this additional traffic.
About the Author:
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. Check out her Google+ profile.