The professionals most often associated with healthcare are doctors, nurses, paramedics, and technicians. But behind the scenes there is an equally expansive group of professionals who work to ensure that the healthcare system as a whole functions as effectively as possible. They are broadly known as healthcare managers or administrators, and the work they do is essential for successful patient outcomes across the country and across the world.
In order to provide timely, comprehensive, and affordable care, healthcare facilities ranging from clinics, to hospitals, to testing facilitates have to be carefully managed. Groups of professionals manage the hiring and administration of staff, the upkeep and improvement of the facilities, the technology that everyone relies on, the finances of the organization, and dozens of other responsibilities. Healthcare providers are businesses just like any other and require an extensive management structure in order to operate.
Professionals interested in healthcare management have a wealth of opportunities to consider. Every facet of business – finance, marketing, strategy, IT and HR – are features of healthcare as well. And while there is a fair amount of overlap with the broader business community, the mission and values of healthcare create completely new priorities. That is why healthcare administrators are meaningfully different from their counterparts in other private and public enterprises.
In addition to being one of the most diverse potential career tracks, healthcare management is one of the fastest growing. New opportunities are being created at from the entry level to the c-suite. And new management priorities are appearing as healthcare becomes increasingly technological and regulated. Anyone considering this line of work can expect to find opportunities of all shapes and sizes in locations across the country.
This resources guide is designed to give potential healthcare managers an introduction to the ideas, issues, innovations, and obstacles that have the biggest impact on the field. These resources will also help future professionals to plan and pursue the education and credentials they will need to possess. There is not a single clear track into a healthcare management position, which is why it is so important to consider every option and plan for the future carefully. Spend some time exploring these resources, and use them as a jumping off point for your career in healthcare management.
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
The AAHAM was originally founded in 1968 with the intention of serving hospital patient account managers. It has evolved to focus on a broad-based agenda relevant to a wide range of healthcare professionals.
American College of Healthcare Executives
More than 40,000 executives leading every type of healthcare organization have joined this organization in order access networking, education, and career advancement opportunities. There is a network of 79 member groups operating across the country.
Health Care Administrators Association
This group studies and advocates for third-party administrators (TPAs) including insurance carriers, underwriters, auditors, consultants, and more. Their stated goal is to improve the quality, value, and sustainability of self-funding and health care benefit administration.
The Healthcare Financial Management Association
Finance is essential to the success of any healthcare organization. The HFMA has over 40,000 members involved in various aspects of healthcare finance and works to build partnerships between stakeholders.
The National Association of Healthcare Access Management
This is considered to be the leading resource in patient access services. The group establishes best practices and subject matter expertise as well as providing networking, educations, and certification opportunities.
American Academy of Medical Management
Since 1987, this group has served as a resource for any professional working on the business side of healthcare. They offer seminars throughout the country as well as a number of certification opportunities.
Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
This organization is made up of professionals who support or assist healthcare leaders, namely executive assistants and administrative assistants. The group sponsors events and education opportunities while providing professionals development resources.
American Association of Medical Assistants
Medical assistant is a broad term that refers to professionals who provide either administrative or clinical assistance. This organization focuses on the unique needs of these professionals by offering educational resources, certifications, and opportunities to meet across the country.
American Health Information Management Association
The primary goal of the AHIMA is to provide the knowledge, resources, and tools necessary for professionals who manage health information to achieve excellence. The group offers education and certification opportunities as well as resources specifically for students.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
HIMSS aims to evolve and advance the way that healthcare professionals and organizations utilize IT. There are over 64,000 individual members and a number of resources available to help professionals working both inside and outside the field of healthcare IT.
American Hospital Association
The needs of America’s hospitals and the people who manage them are the sole focus of this group. They advocate on behalf of hospitals, perform research and studies to improve hospital outcomes, and provide a number of resources in the service of performance improvement.
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
The ambitious objective of this group is to improve health and healthcare worldwide. The group provides a number of resources to help providers plan, manage, and track changes to their operations.
National Association of Health Services Executives
The issues and interests of black healthcare administrators are the primary focus of this group. There are regular meetings, educational resources designed for minority executives and executives serving minority patient populations, and scholarship opportunities for students.
Journal of Healthcare Management
This is the official journal of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is published six times a year. Each issue features articles composed by academics, thought pieces written by industry leaders, and an interview with a healthcare executive.
The American Hospital Association publishes relevant industry news and research on a regular basis. News is divided into categories for advocacy and public policy, quality and patient safety, community health, and access and coverage.
This publication presents healthcare business and policy news, research, and information. Content is updated on a daily basis and touches on issues as wide ranging as government, transportation, finance, and insurance providers.
The relationship between economics and healthcare is explored in this publication. Stories are divided into sections covering business, technology, money, and policy. This publication is also part of a much larger publisher network with sites covering a number of subsets within healthcare management.
Health Facilities Management
This publication from the American Hospital Association covers topics related to the design, building, and maintenance of health facilities. Articles are posted online daily and in a print publication on a monthly basis.
Managed Healthcare Executive
Issues relevant to executives in managed healthcare environments are discussed in this publication. Specific topics covered include industry analysis, business strategy, health management, hospitals and providers, and pharmacy best practices.
Hospitals & Health Networks
This B2B publication is targeted at hospital and health network executives and covers trends, emerging research, and best practices. New content is posted online daily as well as in a monthly print publication.
Health Data Management
This publication covers the congruence of healthcare and IT. Specific focus is placed on revenue cycle analytics, electronic health information, data storage, and mobile medicine. Content from industry professionals, academics, and thought leaders is posted daily.
Health Care Management Review
This journal disseminates research into management, leadership, and administration into health care systems. Articles are theory-driven and based on cutting-edge research. Four issues are published each year.
Health Management Technology
The technology of health management is the focus of this publication with articles discussing both present and future technological approaches to health management. New content is posted on a daily basis.
Healthcare Informatics Review
The emerging field of health informatics is the focus of this publication. Content is focused on policy/regulations, technology, data security, analytics, and management. New articles are posted online daily.
Association of University Programs in Health Administration
This coalition of colleges, universities, faculty, individuals and organizations works to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. Their work deals primarily with improving university-based management education programs. They offer a number of resources for current and future students.
Commission On Accreditation Of Healthcare Management Education
Acceptable criteria for education in healthcare management are set by this organization. They work with university programs to help them earn and maintain accreditation that demonstrates their commitment to quality and forward-thinking practices.
The Joint Commission
Over 21,000 healthcare organizations are accredited and certified by this organization. Endorsement demonstrates the organization’s commitment to performance standards and quality improvement. The group offers a number of educational resources.
Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems
This certification demonstrates that professionals meet a prescribed level of competency in healthcare information and management systems. Earning the certification requires passing a 115-point multiple choice exam.
Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives
Professionals with this certification have demonstrated an exceptional level of expertise, experience, and commitment to continuing education and professional development. In order to earn the certification professionals must have a required amount of continuing education, sit for an interview, and pass an exam.
Certified Medical Manager
This certification program has been specifically designed for medical office managers. Professionals will need to pass a 200-questions multiple point examination administered over a period of three hours.
Certified Administrator in Physician Practice Management
Managers who work in a physician’s practice can advance their career by certifying their skills in revenue cycle management, staffing, compliance, and general business processes. The final exam consists of 50 questions.
Certified in Healthcare Human Resources
This certification verifies that professionals have exceptional abilities at recruiting and retaining the right employees while meeting the needs of those working in a healthcare setting. The final exam consists of 100 questions.
Food and Drug Administration
The FDA is tasked with overseeing and regulating all industries involved with food and drugs. The mandates of the FDA have a sweeping impact on opportunities and obstacles within healthcare management.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Workplace safety is studied and regulated by OSHA. Healthcare managers need to both abide by OSHA regulations within the workplace and devise methods for better responding to hazards created by the workplace.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The goal of the EPA is to protect natural resources while mitigating the impact that the environment has on public health. Healthcare managers and EPA officials work together to develop short and long-term strategies to improve health.
Centers for Disease Control
Any disease that could negatively impact public health is closely tracked and studied by the CDC. In times of crisis, the CDC is the primary source of information and guidance for healthcare providers working on the front lines.
National Institutes of Health
This agency provides education and grants to improve health outcomes. They also provide training and resources to further the goals of healthcare providers. The agency is a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
All issues having to do with Medicare and Medicaid go through this agency. Since these are two of the largest payers in the present healthcare system, the Center’s mandates and recommendations have a major impact on healthcare managers.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
This agency is specifically tasked with studying the healthcare system from both a macro and micro perspective and making recommendations to improve the quality of outcomes. The agency also awards funding and grants.
Health Affairs Blog
Noted health policy experts use this platform to post commentary on issues affecting health and health care. Topics are wide reaching and cover everything from technology, to economics, to payment policy.
The Health Care Blog
This blog covers the business of health care and the issues that are transforming the health care industry. The primary readership is healthcare executives and policy makers at the local, state, and federal level.
Healthcare policy is covered in depth by this blog from The Washington Post. The publication is unique in its in-depth approach to policy and the affect that practices and regulations have for both patients and providers.
NCPA Health Policy Blog
The National Centers for Policy Analysis maintains a blog focused specifically on health policy. Policy experts and specialized reporters post content related to policy news, and the impact and outcomes of policy changes.
The Incidental Economist
This blog re-posts and responds to news related to health policy. The blog takes a wide reaching approach and offers a convenient way to keep up to date about the issues and ideas that have an impact on healthcare management.
This blog is written by an experienced healthcare management professional named Nick Jacobs who has established himself as a thought leader with fresh ideas about the problems and potential in healthcare. His approach is more personal and opinionated than many similar publications.
DB’s Medical Rants
Dr. Robert M. Centor publishes his musings about the state of healthcare using interesting, often humorous insights. Since his blog is independent of any organization or agenda, he covers a wide range of issues/ideas from a deeply personal perspective.
Health IT Buzz Blog
Technology and health are the focus of this blog. Many of the issues the blog raises are relevant to healthcare managers even if they are not directly involved with IT. Many of the posts are published by practicing doctors and current health care administrators.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Trends affecting employment in healthcare management are covered here including projected job growth, the average income, and the issues affecting employment. There are also resources targeted at aspiring healthcare managers.
Healthcare management employment, like all types of employment, is subject to geographical variances. This article highlights the 10 best and 10 worst states to find a job in this industry. The average hourly wage for each state is also listed.
Education, experience, certifications, and professional accomplishments all impact how much a healthcare administrator earns on a yearly basis. This site provides a broad overview as well as tools to help filter salary expectations by professional history.
A sparkling resume is not all that it takes to succeed as a healthcare manager. This piece discusses the soft skills, or personality and character traits, that are necessary for anyone serving as a leader in healthcare.
Healthcare Leadership Alliance
Certain skills within the field of healthcare management – workforce management, strategic planning and finance – have more of less value as time goes by. This article discusses the competencies that are currently in high demand.
Healthcare administrator is a broad term that encompass dozens of different job titles. This article highlights the specific jobs that have the highest earning potential. It also talks about what kinds of credentials are necessary to be hired for those positions.