A Growing Field: Healthcare Management

A Growing Field: Healthcare Management

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Healthcare is a complex field that requires a whole field of trained managers who have experience with business, management, health care service policy, healthcare technology, and healthcare financing. 

What is Healthcare Management?

Some people may wonder why healthcare management is a different field from typical management. Although there is a lot of overlap in material and courses, healthcare management gives more direct preparedness for those preparing to work in the field. For those interested in science and business in college, healthcare management may be a great option. Furthermore, when working in healthcare management, it’s important to not only keep up with the markets and public policy, but also with the latest biotechnology, research, and more. Because new challenges, solutions, regulations, and patient needs are constantly changing the healthcare field, healthcare managers need to be knowledgeable and prepared to make quick decisions in the healthcare environment. Healthcare management is also a popular pre-med track for those who want to become physicians but may want to work in management later. 

There is an important distinction between healthcare management and healthcare administration. Neither healthcare managers nor healthcare administrators work to directly provide their patients with treatments. However, although managers and administrators have some similarities and are thought to be interchangeable, they are distinct fields. Healthcare administration involves managing staff, checking services offered to patients, keeping records, making schedules, and other human resource services. A majority of healthcare administrators work in hospitals or nursing facilities because their job involves directly managing the staff. Healthcare management, on the other hand, is focused on running an entire healthcare organization including maintenance and finances.

Studying Healthcare Management

According to Niche, the top Healthcare Management programs are at the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis, Georgetown University, Northeastern University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although Healthcare management can be studied generally, similar to studying management, healthcare management has different sectors that can be specialized in. 

The first is healthcare informatics which is focused on healthcare information systems and business intelligence. Data analysis is needed for the field of management, and graduates who follow this degree path are likely to end up working in public health, insurance, or research. Some courses specific to studying health care informatics are ethics in information management, health care strategic planning, electronic patient records, health care systems, and applications, and security and privacy. 

The next specialization in healthcare management is focused on financial management, which includes typical courses on budgeting, accounting, economics, and more specialized courses like health services finances. These professionals focus on the financial management of healthcare facilities and systems and often work on projects involving budgeting, forecasting, and venture development.

Finally, the third specialization in healthcare management involves the study of Law and Policy. Because healthcare is constantly changing with new regulations and laws, courses on public policy and laws specific to the healthcare industry are offered. Jobs with this specialization include working at firms as medical advisors or working in the government to refine healthcare policy.

The Future of Healthcare Management

The healthcare management field is growing rapidly, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth in healthcare employment is expected to steadily continue. This growth can be attributed to a few main reasons. The first is population growth. With the population of the United States projected to increase by 10.8 percent this decade alone, healthcare facilities and providers will become more in demand. New healthcare facilities will necessitate a greater need for healthcare managers. Secondly, the average age of the population is increasing due to the large baby boomers population aging. Older people have more healthcare needs and are also more likely to seek treatment for chronic conditions. Overall, there continues to be a growing need for healthcare managers. With lots of opportunities and specializations available, healthcare management is a profession worth considering.

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