Medical and health services managers are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating the behind-the-scenes aspects that keep hospitals, nursing homes, group practices, and other health care facilities running efficiently.
Nate Olson, a 26-year hospital/health system CEO, explains their role and importance:
“Health care managers are critical to the success of any health care organization. They are at the front lines dealing with patient guests, their families, and friends, and of course physicians and the myriad of other health care professionals that are part of the team taking care of the patient guest. They must make life and death decisions every day and do it with dignity and compassion in an environment of disparate needs. They are the backbone and key to any health care system’s long-term success. They are often the unsung heroes in healthcare. “
Depending on what is required of them, medical and health service managers may manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians. Medical and health services managers must be knowledgeable of current changes in healthcare laws, regulations, and technology so that they can effectively direct the appropriate changes to their facilities. Their duties consist of improving efficiency and quality of service, developing department/organization goals; recruiting, training, and supervising a complex staff; responsibly managing finances, and representing the facility at investor and/ or governing board meetings.
Because much of their time is spent working with doctors, health insurance representatives, and other administrators, health care managers must have good interpersonal and communication skills. They should also possess good problem-solving and technical skills to successfully run their department or business.
A health services manager may be either generalized or specialized, depending on the size and needs of the office. Bigger offices usually require several administrators with varying specialties to implement procedures and policies for each of their departments. Health services managers with formal training or expertise in a medical area are called clinical managers.
21st Century Skills required for this profession:
- Use data to analyze and predict future trends
- Analyze multi-faceted scenarios
- Optimize best business practices
- Understand and balance goals between different groups
- Establish and communicate project timelines
- Clearly communicate goals and strategies
- Listen to the needs of each group, including staff, patients, investors, etc.
- Provide oral and written reports
- Determine optimal strategies to balance efficiency, effectiveness, and finances
- Engineer team-building activities and exercises
- Creatively market services
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