People typically know what doctors and nurses do, but few are familiar with the role healthcare administrators play to ensure their medical practices, nursing homes, hospitals and other health facilities provide a consistent level of care to patients.
Healthcare administrators must be knowledgeable, organized and innovative to keep medical facilities operating in the face of persistent challenges, such as the introduction of new legislation or technology. The model of healthcare delivery that works well for one facility may be unsuitable for the next one.
There are many career possibilities open to graduates with an Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration, such as Healthcare Administrator, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Electronic Medical Records Specialist and Health Educator.
Is Healthcare Administration What I See on TV?
If you’re looking for insight into what a healthcare administrator does, turn on your television. While “Grey’s Anatomy” may focus primarily on the efforts of doctors and nurses, a few programs, such as “House” and “Nurse Jackie,” portray the relationships between medical professionals and the administrators that support them.
These television depictions are fictionalized and often sensationalize what it’s like to work in a hospital – after all, a medical facility that runs smoothly, which is the goal of a healthcare administrator, wouldn’t do well in a sensationalized TV setting. Despite the exaggerations, television can illustrate the importance of administrators in creating an environment where doctors and nurses can concentrate their efforts on patients.
What You Need to Know about Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administrators need good communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills. They may interact with doctors, nurses, office personnel, outside vendors, insurance companies and others. These professionals also make decisions that consider the needs of the facility and the care of their patients.
An AS in Healthcare Administration at New England College starts with a strong liberal arts foundation. You’ll learn about a variety of topics that are designed to help you learn how to analyze information, make decisions and understand events. Some of the classes you can take include writing, politics, history, art, literature and math.
Courses specifically designed for an associate degree include the following:
- Organization and Management – Students will focus on management and leadership as they apply to the healthcare field. Topics include goal achievement, strategy, interpersonal dynamics, cost effectiveness and managing employee behavior.
- Ethics – Students can gain guidelines for making sound decisions by examining case studies and participating in simulated decision-making experiences.
- Marketing – Students will learn about the essentials of marketing strategy and planning for healthcare organizations, including a thorough examination of the marketing mix: product, price, promotion and place (nicknamed the 4 Ps). They will also learn how to use quantitative data to analyze the marketplace and patient needs.
- Finances – The course covers the basics of budgeting, accounting and related principles, and how they apply to the healthcare environment. Students will be exposed to sample financial statements (such as income statements and balance sheets) to help them understand the concepts of revenue, net income, assets and liabilities.
- Health IT/Health Informatics – Students will examine how technology influences the collection, analysis, storage and management of healthcare information. This is a rapidly changing field, as new technology can potentially impact the quality and safety of care. The course starts with an overview of the current state of data usage in healthcare delivery, and proceeds into topics such as electronic health records, data management, and ethical and legal issues.
- Insurance – The class covers insurance issues from various perspectives: the buyer, the practitioner and the provider. Students will learn about the different kinds of healthcare insurance options available in the United States, and the role of state and federal legislation. The instructor will look ahead to how the healthcare landscape is changing, and what the implications may be.