Healthcare Management relates to the overall management, administration and leadership of private or public health facilities. The aim is to maintain seamless operations by meeting specific outcomes, within budget. Healthcare managers define the outcomes, optimising budgets, resources and people to meet these goals.
What does a Healthcare Manager do?
Healthcare managers oversee the day-to-day operations of a hospital or department, depending on whether they are generalists or specialists. Generalists oversee the entire institution whereas specialists are department oriented (marketing, policy analysis, finance etc.). A Healthcare manager has to balance the needs of the institution, its practitioners and the community. They are responsible for setting budgets, maintaining relationships with stakeholders, making decisions on staff training, performance objectives and more.
Today, Healthcare Management also covers the role of media personality, with managers becoming the face and voice of their institution. Social media shines a harsh spotlight on both successes and failures, requiring an immediate and public response to community feedback.
Healthcare Managers vs Healthcare Administrators
Mistakenly used interchangeably, Healthcare managers and Healthcare administrators are two different – but strongly interconnected – functions. The former is in charge of the entire department or facility while the latter is responsible for the employees of a department or facility. For example, a Healthcare manager can determine if an additional employee is required, and the Healthcare administrator is responsible for the hiring process.
What skills are needed in Healthcare Management?
Health environments are incredibly dynamic, complex and stressful. Professionals pursuing leadership roles in this field would do well to cultivate some of the skills outlined below;
- Communication skills: To better facilitate internal and external collaboration
- Financial Skills: For budgeting and decision making
- Strategic orientation: To adapt policy to external changes
- Team leadership: To motivate stakeholders and departments
Where can you learn Healthcare Management?
While not many universities offer undergraduate courses in the subject, quite a few offer graduate level degrees, as this function is most suited for experienced professionals who have spent a few years working in a Healthcare institution. A Masters level degree such as Online MBA in Healthcare Management is often a pre-requisite as it teaches the administrative, leadership and management skills needed for the role.
An MBA in Healthcare Management teaches the principles to strategically govern a healthcare environment. It emphasises health policy, models of governance, ethical challenges and organisational culture, teaching professionals how to evaluate and improve current practices.