The management in any business sets the standard for efficiency and organization. Leaders and administrators motivate, set the overall tone and build team morale. Their confidence and abilities permeate all parts of the organization. While strong leadership in any company is paramount to its success, health care administrators in today’s climate face unique challenges, such as technological advances, delivery system innovations and cost increases.
With these changes, the industry is also facing new challenges created by systemic reform. Health care organizations are moving to improve their functional efficiency, and the PwC Health Research Institute’s new report describes 2018 as a “year for resilience amid uncertainty.” The report highlighted 12 distinct issues that are changing the face of health care and requiring organizations to rethink not only their methods of patient care but sometimes their overall business model.
For example, the PwC HRI report outlines how computers are allowing hospitals to automate some day-to-day tasks, such as 82 percent of paperwork, 79 percent of time tracking functions and 68 percent of necessary accounting tasks, allowing health care workers to focus on patient care.
These advances in technology mean cybersecurity plays an increasingly important role in health care, and industry leaders are struggling to keep patient information and other sensitive digital records secure. According to the Research Institute’s report, only 36 percent of health care organizations have patient data management policies, and just 34 percent have a cybersecurity auditing process in place.
Health care professionals interested in confronting these issues and developing solutions can do this by earning a health administration degree from the University of Cincinnati’s online Master of Health Administration program. Graduates can emerge with a toolkit of skills and knowledge that can help them deal with these issues and many others.
Creating a Strategic Patient Experience
One issue gaining traction in many health care organizations is the idea that improving patient care and employee job satisfaction begins with creating a strategic patient experience, where both patients and their care providers are educated about the tools and methods used for treatment. The MHA core course Health Systems Management 1: Organization & Delivery provides future health care leaders with a systematic method for examining a health care delivery system and evaluating its efficacy and efficiency while focusing on its key components, such as its features and tasks. Students in this course will gain knowledge about the conceptual techniques used to evaluate a health care system’s fitness and performance. They will also learn fundamentals needed to anticipate and understand how changes in one sector of an organization can affect other components. This core class is designed for students pursuing a career as an administrator, planner, policy analyst or researcher.
Adapting to Health Care Reform
Health care administrators will also face myriad challenges due to ongoing health care reform policies. With the potential for repealing and replacing or otherwise changing the Affordable Care Act looming, health care organizations will have to be prepared to adapt by seeking new payment models or even changing from nonprofit to for-profit businesses. To prepare for these and other changes, UC offers Health Policy 1: Health Policy & Regulation to its MHA students. This core course gives students knowledge about health care system issues such as access, quality, costs and private insurance. Students completing this course will learn about: special circumstances certain patients face, such as lack of insurance; how to work with military veterans; how pharmaceuticals figure into an organization’s business model; the concerns associated with long-term managed care; and the issues that must be addressed for patients with mental health problems. The course focuses on teaching students how to develop, implement and evaluate policies that will lead the industry into the future.
Leading in Times of Change and Uncertainty
With the dramatic changes in the health care industry, future administrators must understand how to best lead their organization and staff in times of change and uncertainty. In UC’s Health Systems Management 2: Principles of Leadership course, graduate students will learn management, leadership and organizational techniques and strategies that are foundational to success. Students taking this course can develop their skills with a curriculum designed to apply to the student’s individual professional setting. Students will analyze their own professional experiences, strengths and weaknesses with the intention of understanding team dynamics, professional development methods, decision-making and negotiation skills, as well as verbal and interpersonal communication techniques.
Health Administration Job Outlook
Graduates seeking leadership and management roles can enter many fields with their health care administration degrees, including finance, human resources, planning and development, medical staff relations and nursing administration. Other career paths that require similar education and training include hospital financial managers, insurance underwriters, medical records and health information technicians, and social and community service managers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health care administrators can earn as much as $144,000 per year, with the median salary hovering at about $98,000 per year. The job outlook for health care administrators continues to be favorable, with BLS predicting a 20 percent growth rate from 2016 to 2026. By earning an online Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Cincinnati, health care professionals can prepare themselves for one of these well-paying and rewarding careers in health care administration.
The University of Cincinnati’s Master of Health Administration degree blends real-world experience with competency-based coursework to create a comprehensive and innovative learning environment. The university recognizes three universal issues in today’s health care system: cost, access and quality. We develop professionals who are dynamic leaders prepared to manage the challenges of today and tomorrow.