Healthcare industry has been evolving dramatically in the last few decades. Population needs and demands are increasing in a way that requires more attention and co- efforts of all stakeholders involved in this industry.
Healthcare administration has become a fundamental approach to introduce healthcare professionals to the main responsibilities at various range of scopes and enable them to manage their healthcare facilities in an effective way. This requires more understanding of the growing and changing healthcare industry, besides focusing on building more critical and analytical thinking and getting in line with all external and internal factors.
Healthcare administration is about the future leaders of the twenty-first century who take into consideration the combination of business knowledge, technical knowledge, hospitality knowledge, and healthcare knowledge, to lead and successfully manage their healthcare organization.
Healthcare administration addresses a large scope of settings and services, ranging from a single physician office to polyclinics, network of hospitals, home care, nursing home, hospice care, continuing or long-term care.
Healthcare administration is about connecting the dots between what has been learned, applying the acquired knowledge on the job itself. It’s about complying with local, state and federal laws and regulations, creating an ethical dynamics environment, setting standards of care at every diagnostic or therapeutic procedure, and integrating technological enhancements. Moreover, healthcare administration emphasizes on the enhancement of building capacities through the professional development of healthcare providers, who are responsible for providing the best quality of care, to ultimately attain efficient and effective healthcare services, by avoiding misuse, overuse, and underuse of the resources.
To function a healthcare facility of any kind whether a solo practice or group practice, small hospital or a big hospital, two groups of personnel are required; the clinical personnel and the administrative one. Clinical personnel include those individuals who are trained to work directly with the care of patients within the healthcare facility in order to provide diagnostics, preventive, and therapeutic care; such as physicians, nurses, therapists, and technicians. Whereas the administrative personnel are those non- clinical staff members who are complementing the provision of healthcare, by providing non-clinical services such as Admission department, Medical records department, Marketing Dept, Financial department, and other departments related to administrative work.
All healthcare administrators should be aware of the current and future challenges facing the healthcare industry, to be well prepared to handle wide range of aspects related to the business in healthcare. Such challenges are determined by technological innovations, organizational behavior, Compliance strategies, healthcare financing, health information management, human resource management, the physical environment, and facility management
Since the needs for healthcare services have been expanding over the recent decades, the way the individuals are using the resources available (Utilization) has also changed. For example, the expansion of preventive medicine services and techniques have a dramatically prolonged the lifespan of patients. Early detection of diseases followed by proper and instant interventions helped the individuals avoid invasive tertiary healthcare and post complications.
The utilization of healthcare services can be increased or decreased by diverse scope of factors such as demographic changes, public awareness, technology, changes in consumer preferences, new diseases, new discoveries in medicine, introducing non- traditional healthcare services such as ambulatory care, and changes in the practice pattern (invasive vs non- invasive procedures).
The table below shows factors that decrease or increase health services utilization.
Source: Center for disease control and prevention. Retrieved from: Healthcare in America: Trends in Utilization-Centers for Disease.
Moreover, healthcare administrators responsible for improving the level of healthcare, through using several formulas; in any size facility, to identify problem areas when compared to national statistics.
The table below shows 12 topic areas related to healthcare facility and correlated leading health indicators.
Source: Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices.
Furthermore in regards to mitigating the medical errors issue, different concepts can be applied by healthcare administrators using different practices at their health facility.
“Researchers now believe that of medical errors can’t be prevented by perfecting the technical work of individuals, doctors, nurses, or pharmacist. improving patient safety involved a team, who may adopt strategies from outside healthcare”
The report reviews several practices whose evidence came from the domains of commercial aviation, nuclear, safety, and aerospace, and the discipline of human factors, engineering and organisational theory. Such practices include root cause analysis, computerized physician order entry and decision support, automated medication despising systems, bar coding technology, aviation style preoperative checklists, promoting a culture of safety crew resource management, the use of simulators in training, and integrating human factors theory into the design of medical devices and alarms. “ Source: Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices.
In conclusion, the role of a healthcare administrator is essential in managing any healthcare facility. Healthcare administrators should structure and execute a cohesive strategic plan by analyzing data and identifying the trends of improvements to maintain a well-designed process that is easy to follow and improve. This will ultimately ensure both efficient and effective delivery of healthcare services. The former is related to the best use of resources by minimizing the waste of time, energy and costs. The latter is related to achieving best-desired outcome addressed by patient’s improved health status and patient satisfaction.