The healthcare industry has become more complex, making the role of medical and health services managers increasingly important. These professionals are responsible for coordinating healthcare services for patients, ensuring the smooth operation of healthcare facilities, and delivering quality care to patients.
Becoming a health services manager could be a good choice if you’re considering a career combining healthcare and management. Before making this choice, however, take a look at what exactly this job entails, areas of specialization, benefits, required skills, job outlook, and salary expectations.
What Is Healthcare Service Management?
Healthcare service management involves overseeing the administrative aspects of healthcare facilities — ranging from hospitals and clinics to long-term care centers and private practices. These professionals are responsible for ensuring that the organization runs efficiently, effectively and comply with regulations.
These managers collaborate with medical professionals, stakeholders, and staff to optimize patient care, manage budgets, develop policies, and implement strategic initiatives. They must also have a strong understanding of healthcare regulations, best practices, and fiscal management.
Responsibilities of Medical and Health Service Managers
Health services managers wear many hats, and their responsibilities encompass various areas. Some of the vital roles and responsibilities include:
- Operational management: Health services managers coordinate daily operations, ensuring all departments function smoothly, resources are efficiently allocated, and goals are met. They may also need to understand the health care information system to ensure patient records are maintained properly.
- Financial management: They oversee budgeting, financial planning, and billing processes, keeping a close eye on expenses and revenue to maintain financial stability.
- Human resources: Health services managers are in charge of staffing needs, recruitment, performance evaluations, and employee training to foster a motivated and skilled workforce.
- Policy development: They develop policies and ensure compliance with safety standards and quality assurance measures.
- Strategic planning: Health services managers work on long-term strategies to improve patient outcomes, enhance operational efficiency, and stay ahead in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
Each organization’s needs will vary, and health services managers should be prepared to take on additional tasks as required.
Specializations in Healthcare Service Management
There are several specializations within healthcare service management that you can pursue based on your interests and career goals. Some common disciplines include:
- Hospital administration: Focusing on managing large healthcare facilities, including hospitals and medical centers.
- Health informatics: Combining healthcare and technology to improve data management, electronic health records, and information systems.
- Public health management: Concentrating on managing health programs, community outreach, and public health initiatives.
- Long-term care administration: Specializing in managing assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities.
You can pursue various specializations, so research and decide which is the best fit for you.
Steps To Become a Healthcare Service Manager
Becoming a health services manager requires education, experience, and other qualifications. Here are the steps that you should take:
- Obtain a degree: A master’s in business administration or an undergrad in many healthcare-related fields provides a solid foundation in management principles, healthcare policies, and organizational behavior.
- Gain work experience: Practical experience in healthcare settings — whether through internships, entry-level positions, or volunteering — will help you understand the industry, develop valuable skills, and build a professional network.
- Obtain relevant certifications: Consider obtaining credentials such as the Certified Professional in Health Care Risk Management (CPHRM) or the Certified Medical Manager (CMM) to show your expertise and stand out in the job market.
- Seek leadership opportunities: Take on leadership roles within healthcare organizations or healthcare-related projects to develop your management skills and showcase your ability to lead teams effectively.
Earning a degree and gaining experience in the field are essential steps to becoming a health services manager. Additionally, certifications help you stand out and demonstrate your expertise to employers.
Benefits of Working in Health Service Management
Pursuing a career in health service management offers many advantages that can positively impact your professional and personal life. Some of the key benefits include:
- Rewarding career: Playing a pivotal role in improving patient care and healthcare delivery can bring immense satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment.
- Diverse opportunities: Health service managers can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, government agencies, and private practices — allowing for flexibility and career diversity.
- Competitive compensation: Health service management positions often come with attractive salaries and benefits, reflecting the importance and complexity of the role.
Ultimately, health service management is an excellent option for those seeking a challenging yet rewarding career.
In-Demand Skills for Health Service Managers
As a health services manager, it’s important to have technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills to succeed. Employers value essential skills such as:
- Leadership skills: Effective leadership and communication skills are important to manage teams, work well with stakeholders, and solve conflicts.
- Analytical and problem-solving abilities: Health services managers must analyze data, identify issues, and implement strategic solutions.
- Financial management: Proficiency in budgeting, financial analysis, and resource allocation is essential for ensuring financial stability and optimizing resource utilization.
- Knowledge of healthcare policies and regulations: It is crucial to stay informed about healthcare regulations, compliance requirements, and industry trends to uphold legal and ethical practices.
Health services managers must also stay up-to-date with healthcare technology and modern management practices. Along those same lines, health service managers must have a proactive attitude. This will come in handy, as they often have to thrive in highly adaptive environments that require creative problem-solving abilities.
Health Services Manager Salary and Job Outlook
The job outlook for health services managers is promising. With the healthcare industry continuously expanding and evolving, the demand for skilled professionals in this field is expected to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in medical and health services management is projected to grow by 28 percent from 2021 to 2031.
The median yearly salary for health service managers was $101,340 as of 2021.
Higher-level positions such as executive director of healthcare services may earn significantly more. In addition to competitive salaries, many employers offer benefits such as flexible schedules, retirement plans, and bonuses.
If you’re passionate about improving patient care and have expertise in strategic planning and operations, a career as a health services manager can be fulfilling. As opposed to other healthcare roles, becoming a health services manager is a great option if you’re passionate about the intersection of healthcare and management.