Online MBA Career Spotlight: Medical Practice Administrator

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Medical practice administrators (sometimes known as medical and health services managers, healthcare administrators, or healthcare executives) are responsible for running a medical practice’s daily activities by planning, directing, and coordinating its services. They typically work in hospitals, clinics, and public and private offices.

Medical practice administrators may manage entire facilities or a specific department or group of physicians. Sizable facilities may employ more than one practice administrator.

Professionals interested in working on the business side of healthcare might consider earning a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree online from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. UAB’s online MBA program is designed to provide students with the critical thinking, analytical skills, and financial reasoning needed to succeed in an administrative role.

Medical professionals shaking hands

Duties Of Medical Practice Administrators

Medical practice administrators can be in charge of hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, and public health agencies. To be effective in their duties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical practice administrators should be able to:

• Maintain quality and efficiency of their practice’s healthcare services.
• Recruit, train, and oversee medical staff.
• Establish and work toward departmental objectives.
• Ensure their facility and staff are in compliance with all current regulations and laws pertaining to their field.
• Manage their facility’s finances.
• Formulate and adhere to budgets and spending.
• Speak for their facility to governing boards or at investor meetings.
• Maintain records of services rendered, such as medical procedures performed.
• Communicate with department heads and medical staff members.
• Occasionally assist in practice management.

Qualifications For Medical Practice Administrators

Healthcare facilities seeking new practice administrators commonly require candidates to have several years of relevant experience as well as a graduate-level education.

“Typically, the career path to becoming a medical group practice administrator involves business school,” writes Joyce Rouston, a journalist on the Health eCareers News Beat Team. “While it is common to go school after being on the job for a while, a Master’s of Business Administration is necessary these days.”

Skills Of An Ideal Medical Practice Administrator

The position of medical practice administrator requires a range of practical skills, qualities, and knowledge for success. Among the most crucial, according to the BLS, are:

• Analytical skills – Practice administrators should be able to process and analyze the information they receive from their staff and use what they learn to improve and maintain operations within their facility.
• Communication skills – Practice administrators should clearly communicate policies and procedures to other health professionals, as well as familiarize their staff with new laws and regulations.
• Accuracy Skills – Practice administrators should pay attention to detail. They are often required to organize and maintain scheduling and billing information for their facilities.
• Interpersonal skills – Practice administrators should discuss staffing issues and patient information with other professionals, such as physicians and health insurance representatives.
• Leadership skills – Practice administrators are often responsible for finding creative solutions to administrative challenges such as staffing. They must appoint, instruct, lead, and motivate staff.
• Technical skills – Practice administrators should stay current on advances in healthcare technology and data analytics. They might, for instance, begin using electronic health record (EHR) systems or categorization and coding programs when their facility embraces new technologies.
• Business skills – Practice administrators should exhibit astute business acumen. They regularly create long-term plans or their practices, as well as implement functional operations and budgets.

Salary Range

The median annual salary for medical and health services managers as of May 2016 was $96,540, averaging $46.41 per hour, according to the “Salary” section of the BLS,’s data on medical and health services managers. Administrators in the lowest ten percent made less than $56,970 annually, while those in the top ten percent made more than $172,240.

PayScale.com estimates the average annual pay specifically for practice administrators is $70,704, with total pay (accounting for bonuses, profit sharing, and commission) ranging from $43,384 at the lowest to $108,775 at the highest.

Industry type has a significant impact on the annual salary for medical and health services managers. Those working for state, local, and private hospitals earned a median salary of $104,340 per year, followed closely by those working for the government, who made $104,110. Medical and health services managers who worked in physicians’ offices earned $87,540.

Most medical practice administrators work full time. The BLS reports that in 2014, roughly one in three worked more than forty hours per week. Practice administrators sometimes must work or at least be on call on weekends or holidays should an emergency arise at their facility.

Job Outlook And Growth

The BLS predicts a steep rise in employment opportunities for health services managers, including medical practice administrators, in the near future. Job growth is projected to grow by around 17 percent by the year 2024, a much faster rate than all professions on average, which is roughly 11 percent.

The healthcare industry as a whole should see an increase in demand for medical services, primarily because of the aging population. Constantly improving medical technology and practices allow people to live longer, healthier lives and remain active longer than previous generations.

“This increased demand should create greater needs for physicians and other healthcare workers, medical procedures, and healthcare facilities, and therefore greater needs for managers who organize and manage medical information and healthcare staff,” according to the “Job Outlook” section of the BLS data on medical and health services managers. “There should be increased demand for nursing care facility administrators as baby boomers age.”

Job Prospects

The future looks promising for aspiring medical practice administrators and other healthcare managers. Employment demand is rising, and openings are expected as current managers reach retirement age over the next decade. Candidates who possess master’s degrees in business administration can expect favorable prospects in this field.

“Job opportunities will be good, especially for applicants with work experience in health care and strong business and management skills,” says Career Planner, a career testing and help website. “A master’s degree is the standard credential.”

About the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Online MBA Degree Program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online MBA program offers concentrations in finance, management information systems, marketing, and health services, as well as a general track. The online setting allows prospective medical practice administrators who are pursuing their MBA degree to do so while maintaining their busy work schedules. For more information, visit the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online MBA program website.

Sources:
Job Description/Duties And Responsibilities
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-2
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Practice_Administrator/Salary
Qualifications And Skills
https://www.healthecareers.com/article/career/medical-practice-administrators-have-a-bright-future
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4
Salary
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-5
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Practice_Administrator/Salary
Job Outlook
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3702754/
Prospects And Credentials
https://job-outlook.careerplanner.com/Medical-and-Health-Services-Managers.cfm