What is Healthcare Administration

Healthcare administration is a field in the healthcare industry.  Healthcare administration requires you to manage healthcare organizations and groups.  That is the short version, however healthcare management is much more in depth than simply managing healthcare organizations.  For example, a healthcare manager might be in charge of a hospital or an insurance company.  The field itself varies, however it always deals with the management of healthcare organizations.  Because healthcare is an expansive industry, a healthcare administration degree allows you to manage in multiple sub-industries.

Industries

As previously mentioned, healthcare is truly an expansive industry.  Healthcare management provides you with the general tools to manage multiple areas in this main industry.  For now, to understand what is healthcare administration, you must view healthcare as a very general industry with several sub-industries.  Here, we will highlight some of those sub-industries to help you define healthcare administration.

Delivery of Care

The sub-industry of delivery of care includes healthcare organizations that are involved with actually caring for patients.  These include hospitals, clinics, groups, and many other entities.  Normally a healthcare administrator in this sub-industry will deal with managing the actual business of care for people.  You will not manage how medical professionals do their job, however you will make sure these professionals are following guidelines that the organizations sets out.  This is probably the most popular sub-industry within the field of healthcare administration.

Life Sciences

The life sciences industry includes pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, information technology companies, and much more.  This sub-industry actually has several sub-industries, however healthcare administration positions are prevalent in this sub-industry.  Here, a healthcare manager needs to be familiar with how delivery of care entities use technology and supplies.  For example, hospitals purchase many different hospital beds and you must be aware of this process.  Similarly, delivery of care entities must purchase medical devices and you must have the knowledge of how this works.  These positions will require you to manage the business of supplying these needs.

Patient Management

In this sub-industry, patient management mainly includes insurance companies such as HMOs or even self-insured companies.  This position requires healthcare managers to understand how their members use healthcare services and how much they will pay for healthcare services.  You must understand how to negotiate reimbursement rates with hospitals and be able to negotiate what is necessary for the patient or not.  This is as business as you can get in healthcare.  You will likely be in a corporate environment managing how potential patients use services.

Conclusion

What is healthcare administration?  Healthcare administration is just the first step into a general industry with many different options.  With an MHA degree you will have the tools to work in any of these sub-industries.  Believe it or not, there are actually many more, however at this time these appear to be the most popular career path for health administration degree programs.  We will be highlighting all of these sub-industries in future posts.

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