Successful healthcare administrators possess a multifaceted understanding of the industry and an expert knowledge of technology, business, and, above all else, managing people. Good administrators always prioritize what's best for the organization. That means being of service to patients and practitioners, navigating the healthcare field without sacrificing care for profits.
This article covers seven qualities that every healthcare administrator should have, as well as:
The further in your healthcare administrative career you are, the more you'll rely on your analytical skills. High-ranking administrators need analytical problem-solving skills to structure care practices, work with insurance companies, identify and address issues impacting specific populations, and drive all decision-making processes. While you may not need a master's degree in analytics or health informatics to perform this aspect of your job, understanding the process (maybe through a certificate) is essential.
Successful healthcare administrators make difficult decisions related to the finances of a facility. Administrators at individual healthcare facilities face difficult budgeting decisions, such as funding one department over another. These healthcare professionals also address equipment, repairs, food service, and more. The best administrators can cut budgets without sacrificing care. It's not enough to say that administrators need to be detail-oriented; they need to study budgets and see how making decisions in one area can impact others.
Communication skills are essential in all business success, not just in hospital administration. Hospital administrators need to converse with other professionals, including other administrators and practitioners. For instance, an effective information flow means being able to efficiently learn about issues. Open and honest lines of communication allow people to feel comfortable sharing problems before they mushroom.
Good communication is also essential for conveying decisions. If you need to make a tough choice, communicating it in an open, direct, but not harsh way can make a huge difference. Open communication makes your audience feel better about themselves and it sets a precedent for the rest of the organization, improving the overall environment. That's why communication is such a critical leadership skill.
Administrators clearly need organizational skills, especially when in charge of an entire hospital or care facility. According to Indeed, top organizational skills include time management, delegation, strategic planning, and staying effective under pressure. The list also includes previously mentioned skills like communication and analytical thinking.
Organized administrators not only help themselves but others in the facility. Healthcare administrators help establish organizational structure. That's critical, because isorganization at the top can make it difficult for everybody else to perform.
Healthcare moves quickly, and problems arise that must be addressed immediately. When COVID-19 completely upended the healthcare system, the best administrators took charge and kept their healthcare organizations running. A review of six top organizational responses revealed that the best organizations did things like enacting point-of-care testing, transitioning as much as possible to remote work, and addressing shortages by moving practitioners around the system. With two years of hindsight, these policies may seem simple, but they resulted from careful planning, on-time critical thinking, and effective implementation.
The best administrators understand what their healthcare providers do and utilize the information to improve care practices. Understanding care means having an excellent grasp of the way providers operate. That includes their methodology and the equipment they need to accomplish goals. Having a complete understanding allows administrators to make informed budgeting and organizational changes and provide adequate staffing to operate effectively and efficiently.
Being well-rounded means having, or at least understanding, each of the aforementioned skills. That doesn't mean you need to be an expert, either. You may only be great at a few things on the list. But, a well-rounded leader has the management skills to delegate in service of the whole organization.
A Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program prepares you for a career in the field by training you in data analytics, finance, economics, human resources, ethics, and leadership techniques.
The Master of Healthcare Administration is not the only degree that can lead to a career path in health administration. A Master of Health Informatics or Master of Business Administration with a healthcare administration concentration offer similar coursework and lead to many of the same roles in the healthcare industry.
Completing a master's degree in healthcare administration typically takes two years of full-time study. There are also accelerated degree programs for students who want to finish earlier, taking as little as 16 months.
Few programs require a specific bachelor's degree for admission. Many MHA students pursue undergraduate majors in biology, nursing, chemistry, public health, human resources, or business administration. Many programs seek candidates with some profesional experience.
Other typical admissions requirements include a personal essay(s), your resume, official transcript(s) (showing a GPA of 3.0 or higher), letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores.
Specializing is a great way to develop a niche and meet your career goals. Common specializations include health informatics, health information technology, long-term care administration, leadership, population management, gerontology, health education, and health finance. Not every program offers clearly defined specialization tracks. Instead, you may have the opportunity to specialize through electives or a capstone.
Top 25 healthcare management programs, according to US News & World Report rankings, include:
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