If you work in business management and you’re interested in moving into healthcare management, you might think you already know exactly what to do.
After all, business is business, and management is management, isn’t it? Well, the fact is that although that might be the case in most sectors, and if you are a manager in one kind of business, you can easily become a manager in another, healthcare is different.
There is a lot more to learn, and there are some specific traits and skills that employers will want to see.
Healthcare management is an essential part of the healthcare sector. Budgets have to be handled and carefully allocated, for example.
Staff have to be cared for differently from many other areas, especially as there is a nursing shortage, ensuring each shift and department is covered is a challenging task.
If you feel you would like to take on the role of a healthcare manager, read on to discover what it is you’ll need to show potential employers.
A background in management is crucial, but there is a lot more besides this, and it’s vital you understand this before you get started.
Specific Healthcare Management Qualifications
One of the most important things you’ll need when it comes to working in healthcare management is the right qualifications.
In other areas of business, it’s possible to work up to being a manager without having certifications and degrees; you can rise through the ranks using experience and common sense a lot of the time.
Healthcare management is different. Because it’s such an important role and there is so much that links back to it, employers will want to see that you have the right qualifications before considering you for the role.
You can gain a degree in healthcare management, which is a good start. However, it may not be enough due to the amount of competition for healthcare management roles.
You’ll need to stand out, and you’ll need plenty of knowledge, and the best way to get both of these things is to undertake an MBA in healthcare management. When you do this, you’ll have specific knowledge of healthcare management, and you’ll have a qualification to impress potential employers with.
This will help you stand out with your job application and resume, and it will also give you the confidence you need (and the skills) to do a good job once you find a role.
One of the most important parts of a healthcare manager’s job is budgeting. Without a good budget, it’s too easy to overspend, and if you spend too much in one area, that could mean that other areas are underfunded.
In most businesses, this would be unfortunate, perhaps leading to a drop in profits, but in healthcare, it could be hugely problematic, and it might even mean that patients don’t get good enough care.
It wouldn’t be too strong to suggest that a lack of good budgeting could be the difference between life and death in some instances.
A good healthcare manager needs to be able to understand what is absolutely necessary (and ensure there is enough money to purchase those items) and what isn’t.
They must also be able to make cutbacks when and where necessary, even if that decision is not met with enthusiasm.
When you work in healthcare management, you’ll need to listen to what your team says and wants, but you can’t give them everything; you’ll need to work out the difference.
This skill is hugely important, and after the right qualifications, it will be what employers want to see the most.
Customer billing might not sound like a hugely important area for a healthcare manager to have to deal with – after all, isn’t it just putting together invoices and sending them out?
This is the start of the process (or an element of the start), but there is a lot more to it, and the manager has to oversee the entire billing procedure from beginning to end.
Firstly, you’ll need to collate all the patient information. You’ll also have to ensure there are no errors. You may need to work with insurers, depending on how the patient is paying.
Plus, what happens if people don’t or can’t pay? You’ll also need to stay on top of these overdue payments and contact the people involved. If they can’t pay, you may need to come up with a payment plan.
If they refuse to pay, you may have to take the case to court and get legal help. As you can see, there is a lot more involved in customer billing than you might think at first.
To be a healthcare manager, you must have a good head for figures – this is evident in the importance of budgeting, but it also plays a significant part in the billing procedure.
On top of this, you must also be extremely organized and able to manage a number of different parts of the billing process at once.
The aim is to ensure all the money owed to the healthcare facility you work in is billed and collected, as this will mean you can buy what is needed in your budget. An employer will want to be able to trust that you can do this for them.
Quality Assurance And Control
What do you think of when you think of quality assurance and quality control? It probably isn’t healthcare management – or any kind of management – and might instead be focused on ensuring products are made safely and to a good standard.
However, when you work in healthcare management, quality assurance and control are actually a big part of your day-to-day work.
Some of the things you’ll need to look into include:
- How long the lab takes to process results
- Billing procedures
- Health and safety policies (and if they are being adhered to)
- Patient satisfaction
There are many other things to consider as well. Every process that takes place in your hospital or clinic must reach a certain standard.
Not only will this ensure your healthcare facility runs smoothly, but it will also mean that patients and staff feel safe and protected when in your care. This is crucial if you want to ensure better recovery rates and happier (and therefore more loyal and healthy) staff.
Regarding your staff, they are essential to the smooth running of your healthcare facility. It would be impossible to take care of patients and run lab tests or any of the other many things that take place in such a facility without them.
Therefore, as a healthcare manager, you need to ensure you look after them and that you manage them in the right way.
Not only do you need to make sure that the employees within the hospital or clinic have what they need and are not subject to dangerous practices, but you also need to liaise between them and other managers in some cases.
For example, if your boss had an idea to let a certain number of lab technicians go because they were costing the hospital a lot of money, you would need to explain how that would impact not just the people losing their jobs, but the people who would need to pick up their workload.
Often it will come down to a question of money, and you’ll need to lay out the reasons why paying more is worthwhile – this is just an example, but it could happen, as could many other similar situations.
As a general manager elsewhere, you would have been responsible for your staff, and you would have had to manage them in the right way. In this way, healthcare management is no different.
However, where it does differ is that when you work in healthcare, there are other considerations to take into account; these include your patients, at the very least.
This is why healthcare management is a specialist role and why not everyone can do it well, even with a clinic or management background.
Everything that we’ve mentioned above comes down to one thing; communication. When it comes to soft skills – which are just as important as the skills mentioned above, communication is the thing that will help you the most in healthcare management.
When you are a healthcare manager, you’ll need to be able to talk to a vast range of different people. This includes suppliers, investors, other managers, staff, and even patients and their families from time to time.
Each person will need to be communicated with effectively, but the way you do this with investors will differ from how you do it with patients, for example. You need to understand the different ways to communicate to ensure everyone understands what you need to tell them.
You must also ensure that your message is always as clear as possible. Mistakes from miscommunication in healthcare can have serious consequences, so everything you say and every piece of information you communicate has to be accurate and well thought out.