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The field of health care is undergoing rapid changes. An agingpopulation, new technology and a more demanding legislative andinsurance environment make delivering health services morecomplicated than ever. If you’re interested in joining this growingfield, consider training to pursue a career in health servicesadministration. Health services administrators help coordinate theday-to-day operations of health care organizations through the useof business administration practices tempered by a deepunderstanding of issues surrounding the health sector.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 16 percentgrowth at the national level for health services managementpositions from 2008 to 2018, so job prospects for those with propertraining and experience, allowing for variances in local jobmarkets, should generally be good. Here is an overview of the fieldof health services administration, based on national estimates bythe Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What health services administrators do

Health services administrators assist with the management ofhealth care operations, with a view toward improving efficiency ofservice and patient care. This includes management of theday-to-day office activities, but can also extend to makingbusiness policy decisions in consultation with medical staff.

Generally, administrators act in a supervisory role for otheradministrative staff, often coordinating efforts with othermanagers within the organization, such as clinical directors. Ahealth services administrator’s exact duties will vary dependingupon the size and mission of the organization he or she serves in:In a large hospital, an administrator may coordinate efforts in onesurgical department and report to a director. In a small privatepractice, the administrator may have more control of the overalloperations.

Common responsibilities for this role in any organization mayinclude:

* Managing medical and insurance records

* Overseeing patient admissions procedures

* Staff management, including hiring, scheduling, etc.

* Financial record maintenance and departmental budgeting

* Monitoring and purchasing supplies

* Choosing resources, such as information managementsoftware

What health services administrators need to know

In order to function effectively as a health servicesadministrator, students need to pursue a foundation of businessadministration knowledge alongside coursework that provides anunderstanding of the health care environment. This combination ofskills and competencies prepare the student to effectively driveoperations at their organization toward better patient care andemployee efficiency. Course topics might include:

* Accounting and finance

* Marketing

* Legal aspects of health care and health informationmanagement

* Medical terminology

* Human resources management

* Change management

* Project management

If you are researching degree programs that can help you preparefor a role in health services administration, there are a fewthings you need to know. First, in order to qualify for mostentry-level positions in this field, you’ll need to have abachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in business or management with a health careconcentration should provide the right training.

If you already have an associate degree in ahealth care-related field, or hold an associate degree inanother field, but have experience working in health care, you canalso apply to bachelor degree completion programs that focus onhealth management or health services administration. These shorterprograms can also be pursued online – a convenient option for thosewho need to continue working full-time while studying.

Information in this article was provided by Colorado TechnicalUniversity. Contact CTU today if you’re interested in developingmarketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with anindustry-current degree program. (CTU does not guarantee employmentor salary.)

Courtesy of ARAcontent