health administration

The Vital Role of Health Administration: Keeping Healthcare Running Smoothly

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Introduction to Health Administration

Health administration is a varied and complex field that requires specific skills and qualities. It is a growing field with a great deal of career potential. Health administration requires education in business, communication, and health. While it may not require as much education as careers within healthcare, it is still a vital part of the healthcare world. For the healthcare world to keep running, the business side is crucial and how it runs is just as important. Large corporations that provide healthcare are just like any other business, and they need individuals who understand how the world of business operates. To translate skills to healthcare means knowing the ins and outs of the medical world, as well as knowledge about how business works. Careers in health administration are integral in terms of keeping healthcare moving forward without issues and offer great career potential.

Definition and Scope

As a health administrator, you may work in a variety of settings including hospitals, residential care facilities, extended care communities, community health departments and agencies, medical group practices, clinics and other healthcare facilities. Most students interested in careers in health administration will attend a professional education program that offers a major in the field. No matter what your interests or skills, there is a place for you at the table of healthcare professionals. This is the promise now awaiting you as you explore the field of health administration, a challenging profession with responsibilities that will surge in coming years as the health delivery system in this nation grows.

The healthcare industry has a number of overlapping segments, but all of them need organized, skilled professionals to run them. This is the administrative procedure in action, the backbone of any hospital, clinic, or nursing home, and the individuals in charge are health professionals whose skills are in high demand today. Health administration can be defined as the profession that provides leadership and direction to organizations that deliver personal healthcare services and to divisions, departments, units, or services within those organizations. It is the profession that implements accepted business practices within a growing national trend toward separate healthcare entities with specific areas of concern. As a health administrator, you may be instrumental in building and operating new health facilities, specializing in the finance of healthcare, advising practices in legal matters, and directing health departments, clinics, or nursing homes.

Importance in Healthcare Systems

Whether individuals work in hospitals, healthcare organizations, or other health organizations, they’re making key decisions themselves in their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Health services administrators use quality care to ensure positive, professional relationships between patients. They designate and coordinate specific employees to perform professional roles, and they help raise funds to ensure their organizations serve their communities’ needs. Administrators oversee medical and health care management. They also supervise medical personnel and are responsible for ensuring their organizations operate within the law of health and medical services in the country. Specific duties of health services administrators depend on the size of their organizations.

Health boundaries continue to expand around the world, and healthcare organizations must enable that expansion. Proper functioning of the healthcare system is essential, and health services administrators are critical for ensuring it’s in place. These individuals’ direction enables healthcare professionals to make critical healthcare decisions that affect lives. Without healthcare administrators, medical professionals would not have the same success rates they have today. Hospital, group practices, home health, and nursing home management often falls to health services administrators, and these professionals play key roles in other health organizations as well. Calculating risks and setting goals is one of the biggest jobs of health service administrators. Thanks to these individuals, we experience high-quality, smooth-running health systems.

Key Functions of Health Administrators

Key function of Health Administrators involves planning, implementing, controlling, staffing, strategic planning, risk management, policy formulation and analysis, coordination and evaluation, workers compensation and development of operations management (DSS, EIS Systems). Furthermore, there is software designed specifically to support the different administrative levels in the healthcare field. Each software system is typically designed to be task-sensitive, so that the healthcare administrators and other staff can deliver the much-desired patient services. For example, the major functions which administrative software might perform are demographic data capture, financial accounting, budgeting and funds control, a patient disease library, charge capture and patient serial coding, utilization management via controlling patient admissions, case management (case-study evaluation), office network computing, and inpatient clinical evaluations from charge capture statistics.

Health administrators belonging to mid-management supervisory or upper managerial levels are termed “health service” or “healthcare executives,” who are then classified as either “elder” executives or the “chief” executives. In general, these high-level administrators must use administrative management rules to make decisions on resolving a variety of problems. The rules are typically found in marketing, finance, economics, accounting, human resources, and management, and the models derived from them are the tools that administrators use. The tools may be demonstrated as a foundation that explains how decision methods assist administrators. The foundation involves specifying what the issues are, whether the issues are to be addressed, and how successful the responses might be. The most susceptible tool used in administrative decision making is the economic model.

Financial Management

Budgetary: Collaboration with minimal medical expenditure is recognized as budgetary control. The desired effect is only achieving financial objectives, particularly with spending reductions. Capital budgeting would also monitor substantial belongings expenses. Approval of the output budget means authorizing measurement or detection of performance. Values for personnel, health materials, and budgets will say that similar requirements could require similar resources in the near future. Except for post ranks, other latest social and health programs were introduced to explain these measures. Many may aid with current compensation and working conditions, which is a crucial task for wellness management. Costing allows policymakers to compare results of various healthcare programs like public health treatment vs. childhood diseases’ importance. It should not hurt to move too rapidly. As the public good would define the need to use the program, a critical public health project, especially the one focused on vaccinations, decreases the interconnectedness between measures and their essential monetary objectives.

Healthcare enterprises follow financial operations and budgets for providing medical services to sick individuals. Supervision of occupational classes within healthcare organizations employs operational budgeting and checks for cross-contamination of medical materials. Financial operations also monitor healthcare institution’s inventories and the coordination of several departments to provide fast, efficient medical care. Techniques for analyzing economic assessments and decision-making are frequently used in public health and clinical healthcare. These policies estimate health gain, resources used, and benefits for users and the public. Two primary protocols include cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA). CEA focuses on qualitative effectiveness, quantified numerically. It involves measuring the unit to summarize the advantages of healthcare, rather than its size.

Human Resources

Human Resources, however, has value in organizations in that if the role and strategic function of Human Resources are understood and utilized, the benefits will far outweigh any remedial action. With Human Resources forming part of the team at management and staff level, attitudinal changes could be affected on a permanent basis. Such changes could change employees’ attitudes from one of “we are just here for the money” type of attitude to a professional and dedicated commitment to the patients they serve. Just as it is important for the attitude and commitment of employees to change, so it is important for the administration to attempt to develop an environment that will make the employee satisfied and motivated.

These operational functions include creating an environment that allows for the successful provision of healthcare to patients. Human Resources, therefore, plays a vital role in the effective and efficient rendering of these functions to take place. By employing these two methods, Human Resources is not seen as a separate entity but rather plays an integral part in the overall functioning of health administration. To many people, being part of the Human Resources “department” simply means recruitment and selection, managing leave, settling of grievances between employees, and maybe, if you are lucky, some counseling.

In any organization, the management and administration of personnel is crucial to success. In health administration, it is even more critical as the health and often the lives of the people are based on the competencies of these people. In the health field, Human Resources Management is not considered a separate entity, instead Human Resources Administration is seen as a key objective in achieving the purpose of the organization by allowing the other administrative functions to deal with the operational functions of the organization.

Policy Development and Implementation

Public or government programs are essential to the health of almost every nation. These programs may be aimed at the prevention of illness, the assurance of health, the protection of the environment, the provision of income for dependent groups, or any of a large number of other aspects of the socio-economic health of society. Individual programs have been developed to meet specific needs. Together, the programs make up the health service system, and they influence the total health of the community. This book is devoted to the study of the management and administration of public health services, to the characteristics of good administrators, and to the application of management principles in the management of these services. The development and implementation of such government programs are essential in order to create an environment that is conducive to both the prevention and treatment of health problems. It is the purpose of Health Services Administrators to promote health for themselves, their families and friends, and their communities, and to take a leadership role in assuring the same health promotion for all citizens.

Challenges and Trends in Health Administration

Managed care encompasses an election of payment structures designed to motivate providers to control the manner in which healthcare services are offered, including the type and frequency of procedures, elective admissions, length of stay, and referrals. Health maintenance organization (HMO) and secondly begin contacting providers by placing them at a greater financial risk. In return, managed care promises quality, access to healthcare, and cost effectiveness. For many years, the penetration of managed care was low, only appealing to sizable employer groups in pursuit of controlling health benefits. Today nationwide, managed care has become a prevalent form of healthcare coverage, incorporating a substantial share of both government and private sector markets. Much of the health management of corporate and private entities is involved with managed care negotiations, general contracting, evaluation, and ongoing monitoring, balancing the checkbook between cost, quality, and service. Information that relates to all such is the responsibility of health administrators: providing support services, customer transactions, employee health benefits, and implementing managed care programs.

There are many pressing issues regarding healthcare today that health administrators must constantly monitor and respond to. More and more often, individuals are seeking ailment treatments and care from health providers, creating an overwhelming burden on health systems and the United States economy that is already feeling the effects of an aging population at an increasingly rapid rate. It is essential to keep the eyes of America, in terms of the health of the nation, on the entire role of healthcare: health promotion, illness care, injury prevention and care, the environment in which care is delivered, access to care, cost of care, and the quality of care. The responsibility of the health administrator in many cases is to see that all problems which occur in such a complex field are resolved efficiently and effectively.

Technological Advancements

Another recent technological advancement that involves health administration in an enterprise-based system is the use of robotic process automation (RPA) which simulates how employees of an organization would interact with technology, logging into applications, copying and pasting data, and even making decisions to perform high-volume repeatable tasks. When RPA is combined with cognitive technologies like machine learning, the robotic process automation becomes much more adept at learning, understanding, and interpreting data while making more intelligent decisions based upon the data that is available to it. Rapid obsolescence of enterprise-based administrative systems technology is another area of concern that should be investigated as part of any attempt to strengthen health administration research and education. A survey conducted by Black Book Research reported that around 18% of the U.S. based hospitals and healthcare organizations had already adopted RPA and AI with an additional 16% saying that they were going to adopt soon. Such technologies represent the cutting edge of technological advancement to support enterprise-based systems, and we should continue to investigate their impacts on health administration applicability and education.

Technology is an essential aspect of the infrastructure of large healthcare organizations such as hospitals. Recent advancements in technology have enabled healthcare institutions to compile and manage huge amounts of disparate data that represent the types of operations and processes employed to provide services to the patient population. Patient information is one of the major components of that data since scientists and medical researchers are always looking to combine information in hopes of finding solutions to various medical maladies and issues which plague humans. By their very nature, these large institutions generate all types of electronic data at a high rate of speed. However, information about things like costs, human resources, space, construction, programming, and similar operational components that significantly impact the daily functioning of the organization are also generated and need to be managed. Generally, a large majority of these large institutions use enterprise-based systems as one of their primary means of delivering services.

Healthcare Reform

Senator Kerry’s and President Bush’s detailed campaign speeches and their platform discussions and debates will focus on the many looming health-related issues, but it is highly unlikely that any detailed or comprehensive healthcare reform legislation will be passed and signed into law without a clear majority in the U.S. House and Senate. Despite an urgent need for long-term healthcare reform, comprehensive healthcare reform legislation and initiatives will likely remain focused on the federal budget, tax cuts, prescription drug costs, the cost and transfer of healthcare for sick Americans, and the critical June 30, 2004, expiration of the tax on hospital providers to fund the Medicaid and State Child Health Programs (SCHIP). Expiring funds tax debate is planned for a possible game-ending vote in Congress if not extended prior to the summer recess.

Health plays a prominent role in the 2004 presidential election. Both major political parties and candidates advocate a healthcare reform agenda that ensures an equitable and efficient U.S. healthcare system. At least a decade of debate about healthcare problems, causes, access, quality, and systems growth has set the stage for this year’s election focus on the healthcare agenda of the nation’s future. Both President Bush and Senator Kerry are carefully crafting and articulating significant healthcare reform positions and policies in response to the candidates’ realization that healthcare is a major issue for the electorate and those in need of healthcare services.

Education and Training for Health Administrators

Before hospital administrators were educated specifically for their job, hospitals were managed by either doctors or clergy. Since great technical expertise was also required, the professional labor forces began demanding a more professional manager, and at the same time, lots of new health services were being created in the community – health planning and health finance developed, and health administration became an important policy area requiring professionals to work within it. Management education began to use more social science techniques, and the influence of management research has increased, so that the health worker’s experience was combined with practicing management scientists. In the United States, the American Hospital Association’s study of the future development of hospital administration education recommended a course that lasted two years of full-time study and included all of the five basic management areas listed above, plus an emphasis on the public health aspects of hospital work and on community health services.

Health administrators usually have studied for a master’s degree in public administration, hospital administration, or health services administration. But there are many other health workers who are also managers – office managers, ward sisters, and head nurses, heads of pharmacy, and personnel officers, for example. These workers might take a variety of training or educational courses. In most countries, health administrators can also be members of one or another national association or society of health administrators. Many administrative professionals will take courses offered by these associations, and some countries have instituted a system of examination or recertification in which health administrators need to demonstrate that they are keeping up to date. It might also be possible to earn a training certificate. Part of the training involves a major report and an internship in a health service, which is taken in the last stages of the training.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

These summaries seem to provide a concise, yet thorough look at the many new opportunities in US healthcare from the leadership, administrative, and financing aspects. Within the brief discussion, ideas and areas of study or practice are defined and beyond accepted generalizations in terms of the companies or methods that have premier-level solutions to leadership, administrative, financing, or in other areas. Subsequent research may not have sufficient details to answer basic or policy questions, and this will be needed for a better understanding of a population’s health improvement and the way that these advances encourage improved management. To me, this area is an evolving important study that is well worth additional thought and assessment.

US healthcare is constantly growing and presenting new opportunities for improved patient care. It is also adding new ways to use technical capabilities for increasingly good patient-centered outcomes. Recently, there have been new levels of congressional and federal support for improved health and the identification of leadership that will improve healthcare. Even so, there are many areas that are lagging in terms of both improved care and interest from the most talented individuals. Efforts to enlighten the necessary administrative and leadership issues are now being addressed by multiple reporting organizations, the complexities of true financial accountability, and the development of more for-profit healthcare service companies focusing on the entirety of the patient’s interests.

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