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Healthcare administration and its lasting impact on patient care and outcomes

Healthcare administration

Healthcare administration plays an essential role in ensuring that a wide range of facilities is operated in a kind and professional manner that results in quality care for people from all backgrounds.

Healthcare leaders and managers work in all areas of the medical world, including hospitals, assisted living centers, schools and universities, pharmacies, health departments, telehealth, and private medical practices. Pharmaceutical and research companies are still more areas where there is a need for great healthcare leaders.

Here are a few of the job duties administrators may find themselves playing a role in.

Working continuously to improve the efficiency and quality of care

Maintaining or improving the quality and efficiency of care at medical facilities takes consistency and persistence. Healthcare administrators and managers are in charge of figuring out where improvements need to be made and keeping up with emerging technologies and innovations that can help their teams achieve these goals.

Strategic planning of the best ways to make improvements and finding the funding to do so will sometimes occupy a lot of an administrator’s workday.

Keeping up with the laws and regulations of healthcare and assisted living

Laws and regulations can change at any time. Healthcare administrators need to keep up with current rules and regulations and ensure that their facilities have what they need to meet them.

Administrators play a role in making sure that medical equipment is maintained and inspected on a regular basis. It involves scheduling inspections well in advance to ensure proper compliance.

Arranging the schedules of other administrators and healthcare staff

While administrators may have some help from other managers regarding scheduling, it is ultimately up to the main administrators to oversee scheduling and approve how the process is completed. Administrators can help departments fill in gaps in their schedules if they see an overwhelming need.

For example, suppose a department manager brings to an administrator’s attention that they are constantly short-staffed and demand for services looks like it will continue to be high. In that case, the administration may be able to find a staffing agency that provides temporary healthcare workers, such as traveling nurses, to help fill positions until permanent employees are found.

Record keeping 

Administrators conduct extensive record-keeping. For example, it is up to the administration to keep records of what type of capacity the facility is operating at. This figure allows for better planning and may indicate that more beds need to be added in the future.

Making sure that good patient record-keeping is occurring is also essential. Through electronic record-keeping, the ability to keep highly detailed and accurate patient information is available to any medical facility. Administrators must watch out for any lax practices when taking good notes and double-checking records to avoid costly or harmful medical mistakes.

Financial management

The finances of a medical facility can be quite complicated. There is always a lot going in and out. While using accountants is typical, administrators play a critical role in managing and keeping track of a medical facility’s financial aspects. It means working with other administrators and managers to create realistic budgets for necessary expenses while allowing for some costs for improvements and new medical innovations.

Acting as a representative at meetings, seminars, and conferences

Healthcare administrators often attend in-person or virtual meetings, seminars, and conferences. It is a good idea for healthcare managers to make an extra effort to attend these events because they are a great opportunity to network and stay up-to-date on what is happening in medicine.

You may be asked to conduct a lecture or answer specific questions as an administrator. It means having good communication skills to fall back on is very important. Public speaking skills will help you make a good first impression and ensure a more positive image for your medical facility.

Administrative training and mentorship

Higher-level administrators are typically responsible for training and mentoring lower-level managers. Helpful skills include connecting and empathizing with people from many different backgrounds. Training other employees is crucial and should never be a task that is neglected or subject to shortcuts. Well-trained employees help healthcare facilities run more efficiently and provide more care to patients.

Medical mistakes and administrative errors can cost a lot of time and money, so ensuring that employees know what they are doing and have the tools to do their job well is critical to avoiding a stressful and unsafe environment.

New employees paired with a good mentor are more satisfied in the workplace because they know they have support and a way to ensure they are doing things correctly. No matter how highly skilled or educated an employee is, they can only perform at a level that reflects their total potential with good training and mentorship at a new job.

Increasing employee morale

Keeping up morale among healthcare workers is a task that requires consistency and understanding on a massive level. Consider how stressful this work can be during periods of high demand. Add in the fact that an aging adult population needs more care for chronic conditions, and it is easy to see why healthcare workers are prone to burnout, fatigue, depression, and more.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sure, everyone has tough days. The problem is that a working environment is always completely overwhelming. Healthcare administrators need to look for ways to ensure that their employees are taken care of and have the resources they need to have a good work-life balance. It is easy for healthcare workers to neglect their own health and well-being so that they can dedicate more time and energy to caring for others.

Wellness programs and perks for nurses and other staff are important to maintain good morale. Encouraging healthy diets and exercise is a good start. It could be as simple as ensuring healthy options in vending machines and breakrooms. Another option is offering gym memberships or discounts to those interested in working out.

Perhaps most important is making sure that healthcare staff can keep up with the demands. While some factors are out of anyone’s control, ensuring that facilities are not consistently understaffed is important in modern medical care. Using temporary staffing services and contacting a larger pool of applicants is becoming increasingly common.

Ensuring better cultural awareness among staff

As areas become more diverse, medical facilities must make an effort to ensure all staff and medical personnel are culturally aware. In modern medicine, one of the challenges is providing a high level of care to people from different religious backgrounds. Some religions may prohibit medical services, such as blood transfusions or having a doctor of the opposite sex.

At hospitals, it has become important to offer foods that honor religious requirements. Another perk of offering familiar cuisine is that it is comforting to the patient to have something familiar while undergoing treatment. Cultural awareness also prevents discrimination and perceived insults.

When workers are more culturally aware, they can help more people daily. In addition, people from different backgrounds are more likely to return to a facility for future care if they have a good first impression.

Cultural awareness training can be accomplished in many different ways. For example, if you have a diverse team of employees, meetings where everyone can share their points of view, can be very helpful. Some facilities may reach out to community leaders from various religious communities or ethnic groups to come to talk to staff.

Hiring bilingual staff or encouraging them to learn another language can improve the level of care your facility offers because it eliminates the need for translation machines and helps patients feel more comfortable if they can speak to care providers using their native language. Better communication means a lower chance of care being delayed or medical mistakes occurring.

Being a healthcare administrator means honing some important skills

If you are already working in the healthcare field, you may decide that advancing your career and moving into management makes a lot of sense. It may be a wise choice since so many people are retiring from medical facilities, and there are fewer workers to replace them during a period of increasing demand.

Many of the skills you use in your job may be the same, but to make it as a manager, you will need to use them more often and at a level that is representative of the responsibilities and duties of your new position.

Here are a few skills that you need to be in healthcare administration:

Business skills

Running a healthcare facility involves excellent business skills. You need to be the type of person that reads a lot of background material so you are aware of what is happening in the medical industry.

Bringing staff together in a way that encourages a high level of teamwork is critical. Without teamwork, a medical facility becomes, at best, difficult to operate without sacrificing the quality of care offered to patients. Strategic planning is a job requirement to solve problems and ensure operations run smoothly.

A love for learning

Being a healthcare leader means constantly learning. The medical industry rapidly develops new technologies, treatments, medications, and more. The unique demands of patients are also changing. Regulations are yet another constantly evolving aspect of healthcare management.

Healthcare administration programs such as the Telfer Executive Master of Health Administration are great online advanced degree options for those already working in healthcare. If you have five years of healthcare management experience, this program can offer you many opportunities with just two years of online classes.

Strong ethics

There are a lot of ethical decisions that have to be made by healthcare administrators. Leaders need to have a strong belief in treating everyone equally.

Administrators need to acknowledge the existing inequalities and find ways to eliminate them whenever possible. It means understanding that background factors can significantly impact health, access to care, and comfort in seeking care. Decisions must always be approached in a way that considers all the stakeholders. It means considering how a decision will affect specific demographics of people and employees.

Leadership skills

It helps a lot if you are a natural leader, but at the same time, leadership skills are something that you can gain through experience. No matter what position you are working in now, there are opportunities to improve as a team leader. When a situation arises where teamwork is needed on a larger project, volunteering to be part of the team shows good initiative. You can work to bring the rest of the team together and get them to work more efficiently.

Managers need to be very good at organizing people and overseeing projects. Being a good leader means always offering others clear instructions and guidelines. Expectations should always be clear from the very beginning of a project.

On balance

Healthcare administrators have many roles in the management of a healthcare facility. They are an integral part of managing healthcare workers and ensuring they have what they need to offer patients and their families the highest level of care.

There is strong demand for healthcare administrators in the future since so many workers are reaching retirement age during a time of increasing demand for healthcare services. Now is a great time to advance your career in healthcare by taking on a leadership role. Suppose you are new to the medical profession and see yourself in a leadership role in the future. In that case, it is always early enough to start considering how to get the experience and gain the skills you need when earning an advanced degree in healthcare management. Showing that you are a motivated worker with great ethics early on will help your odds of landing a great position in the future.

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