Health care continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. The federal government now projects healthcare will add another 4 million jobs by 2026.
While rapid growth is ongoing, the industry also faces increased financial pressures, the implementation of innovative technology and an uncertain regulatory environment.
It’s a challenge. Which is why those with the education in health care management and leadership are in demand more than ever. Earning a master’s degree or doctorate in health care management can place graduates in perfect position to earn the top jobs in the field.
Challenges Faced In Health Care
Health care leaders must deal with many issues to lead a medical operation to success. Here are some of the top challenges they face.
Electronic healthcare records were just the beginning. Health care administrators must now assess the wealth of software options available. The possibilities are already numerous and continue to grow.
Some provide for ease in sharing patient records over various computer platforms in different departments. Some advanced software can help medical professionals make real-time decisions based on available data while patients are being treated. Administrators have the task of determining the cost-to-benefits of various software systems and deciding what can and cannot be implemented. It requires not only financial factors but also time spent on training staff. Outsourcing the work is also an option in many cases.
Compete For Talent
With the rapid growth in the number of health care jobs available, it’s become a “buyer’s market” for those seeking a job. That’s good news for medical professionals. But due to a shortage of qualified professionals in some areas – including nursing – administrators will find themselves competing against other hospitals and medical operations to attract and retain the best talent. That means administrators must offer competitive pay and benefits to employees and have expertise in recruiting.
Need For Specialization
This issue especially impacts hospital administrators. More specialty clinics have been created in the past decade, serving specific medical needs. Some physician groups, for example, have started their own outpatient surgery centers. Health care administrators must conduct their own studies to determine what types of specialized care a hospital can provide, then work to implement the plan efficiently and effectively.
Managing Medicare and Medicaid
This has been an issue for many years. It is only becoming more of a challenge as the country’s population ages. Because payments are capped by law for those who use Medicare and Medicaid, hospitals and other medical operations can make less money when seeing such patients. Administrators must find a way to balance the mission of helping those in need by offsetting the cost with more efficiency or bigger revenue streams.
In a roundtable with the Harvard Business Review, health care executives from across the country said the biggest impediments to change are inside their operation. With new pay structures, new process improvement methods and disruptive technology, the executives said that qualified leadership is of utmost importance. They named Apple as a company they admire – one that stays ahead of disruption and works to keep pace with the changes in technology and the marketplace.
Taking a management position in health care is a challenge. But for those who commit to earning a degree in the field and learning the latest in health care management theory and strategy, the job market has never been better.
Learn more about our MBA with a Health Care Management Specialization.