What Does a Health Administrator Do

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Have you ever wondered exactly what does a health administrator do?  If you have, then you have come to the right place.  First, you need to realize that a health administrator may have many different roles.  Second, these roles change over time depending on the needs of the individual and the organization.  Finally, all health administrators are working in some area within healthcare.  This is the most important piece.  You need to remember that this is a career in healthcare management and most positions require that person to be in a healthcare setting.

What Health Administrators DO NOT Do!

Now, let’s try and answer the key question: What does a health administrator do?  To begin, we will tell you what a health administrator does not do.  First, health administrators do not tell nurses, physicians, PAs, or NPs how to practice medicine or nursing.  Why?  Well, a manager is not going to tell someone with special and unique knowledge how to practice.

They can help streamline tasks or discuss compliance issues with these professionals, but they do not tell them how to care for patients.  Second, health administrators do not deal with patients directly.  Sure, some might at times, but this is not a clinical position and does not require that type of knowledge.  Finally, health administrators do not just deal with healthcare delivery.  This means that health administrators are not just restricted to hospitals and clinics.  Now to the fund stuff, what do health administrators do!

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What Does a Health Administrator Do?

Remember when we said that health administrators work in healthcare?  Well it just so happens that healthcare is a huge industry.  In fact, across most developed countries, 9% of GDP is spent on healthcare.  In the United States, $2.5 trillion was spent on healthcare alone in 2009.  To further analyze that, the Fortune 500 has total revenue of around $10 trillion.  That means that healthcare alone is responsible for a quarter of the Fortune 500 companies revenue wise.  The industries include pharmaceuticals, medical devices, hospitals, health information technology, insurance, government, public health, mHealth, telemedicine, and much more.  We will break down some examples below to highlight what a health administrator does in various settings.


In a hospital setting a health administrator can have many different roles.  We will use examples to highlight some of their job duties.  For example, a health administrator may be in charge of managing a medical or surgical unit.  The responsibilities would include staffing, compliance, financial accounting, or efficiency matters.  Another example might be in supply chain management.  An administrator may be in charge of purchasing supplies such as beds to computers for the hospital.  An administrator may be in charge of marketing for the hospital where they are in charge of branding and image.  The point is that it varies, but you must remember that a hospital is a business and every business needs to be run by managers for each individual part.


In a clinic or small practice setting a healthcare administrator may be in charge of many different tasks.  Commonly, these practices are much smaller.  This requires the administrator to be able to staff, schedule, perform marketing tasks, financial analysis, and many other tasks.  Likely, most clinics have 1 or 2 administrators in charge of running the business of the clinic or the practice.  You will work with insurance companies and the government to get paid for services.  In these settings, administrators need to be able to wear many different hats.

Other Industries

Other industries include pharmaceuticals, government, public health, and much more.  The key is to look at each area as a business.  Administrators or healthcare managers will perform tasks that the business requires such as marketing, reimbursement, accounting, or general management.  We will be posting additional information soon on each of the alternative career paths.

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Final Note

Remember, health administrators require an MHA degree or MBA degree in healthcare to move up in the field.  If you are interested in researching MHA degree programs, please feel free to search our directory.

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