What Is health care administration?

January 26, 2024

Reading time: 4 minutes

Health care administration is the practice of managing, leading, overseeing and administering the operation of dynamic, complex health care entities.

Health care administration professionals are the operational leaders who guide health care organizations through growth and change.

Ben Spedding, DHA, academic director of the Master of Health Administration program in Capella University’s School of Business, Technology & Health Care Administration, outlines the job duties and requirements for health care administration professionals today.

Q. What skills are valued in the field of health care administration?

    A. As you explore pursuing a career in health sciences, some skills that are valued in the health care administration field include:

  • Empathy/emotional intelligence. You may need to interact not only with fellow team members, but also with patients and their families who may be coping with anxiety about their own or a loved one’s condition. Sensitivity to others’ needs is vital to patient outcomes and organizational success.
  • Integrity. Demonstrating that you’re reliable, trustworthy and honest when interacting with physicians, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment companies can help achieve the best outcomes.
  • Business acumen. Health care administration professionals must be business-oriented to meet financial and productivity goals of their organization.
  • Change management. The health care industry is regularly updating policies and technologies. It’s important to stay aware of these updates and be prepared to incorporate them into daily practice.
  • Communication. Communicating effectively with staff, patients, families or caregivers and health care executives is essential in the health care administration field.
  • Relationship management. Good customer relationship management is necessary for health care facilities to improve their bottom line and achieve their mission.
  • Strategic thinking. Health care administration professionals must have the ability to see their facility from a broad perspective, conceptualizing, setting goals, predicting outcomes and potential issues and developing long-term plans.
  • Cross-cultural awareness. Health care facilities help patients of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, so you should be aware of any cultural or economic barriers to quality care and how to deal with them. DEI-related knowledge and awareness are an asset in this area.

    In addition, a well-rounded professional in the field of health care administration will have knowledge and/or experience in the following areas:

        • Revenue cycle management

        • Admissions

        • Billing, budgeting and finance

        • Case management

        • Utilization

        • Payer contracting

        • Strategic management

        • Strategic leadership

        • Culture and mission

        • Quality assurance

        • Performance improvement

        • Regulatory oversight

        • Patient safety and risk management

        • Workforce staffing

        • Data in the health care ecosystem

        • Supply chain coordination

Q. How has the landscape of health administration changed?

    A. Just as COVID-19 ushered a shift in the way many industries conduct business, technology has been a driving force for change in health care administration.

This technological shift has changed how many health care facilities manage their data collection and electronic medical records. This has helped streamline day-to-day operations and improve the coordination of patient care.
As telehealth has become more prevalent since COVID-19, health care administration professionals should be versed in working across a variety of platfor

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also playing a role in assessing behaviors or trends to help health care administration professionals predict what resources may be needed for courses of treatment or serving specific populations. AI can also be used to answer patient questions and triage when someone isn’t available on the phone. In some cases, AI is even being used in robotics for tasks like medication management and meal delivery.

Professionals in this field should be prepared to embrace and leverage these technological innovations within their roles to keep up with the demands of the industry.

Q. What might the daily responsibilities of a health care administration professional look like?

    A. Some daily operations in health care administration might include:

        • Overseeing department operations

        • Focusing on quality, safety, risk and compliance

        • Staff management such as payroll, staff relations, HR matters, etc.

        • Leadership activities that include mentoring, troubleshooting, serving as an organizational culture ambassador, engaging staff, etc.

        • Financial oversight of budgeting, finance and revenue cycle

        • Driving organizational strategy and vision

        • Serving as a resource to staff, patients, visitors and other internal and external stakeholders

        • Business development and marketing

        • Tracking quality indicators, analyzing and reporting quality outcomes

        • Ensuring patient care is delivered per policy, regulation and law

Q. What type of individuals could be a good fit

    A. Effective professionals in health care administration are individuals who are career-focused and ambitious, have high emotional intelligence and are
    receptive to change. They should be able to prioritize and function in a fast-paced environment, possess technical skills and have a lot of patience.

These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Capella offers the following health care administration programs:

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