Health Systems Management

Healthcare administrators or managers typically manage a single healthcare unit such as a hospital, clinic, or research facility. Health systems managers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree and often have a master’s degree in business administration with a focus in healthcare. Some schools even offer healthcare management degrees specifically for those who want to become administrators in healthcare settings. In certain cases, healthcare professionals such as nurses or doctors may become managers, but usually not before they receive some type of business training or degree.

What Does A Health Systems Manager Do?

Health systems managers usually have a variety of job duties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical job duties for a health systems manager include:

  • Oversee quality control and efficiency of healthcare delivery systems
  • Ensure facility compliance with new healthcare laws
  • Supervise department heads or other administrators as needed
  • Manage financial aspects of healthcare facilities, including insurance payments, Medicare and Medicaid spreadsheets, and private donations
  • Represent the organization with other groups such as a board of directors or investors
  • Monitor recordkeeping services to ensure accuracy

Depending on the type of facility, the health systems manager may hold various titles

  • Nursing home administrators are required to be licensed in all states. They manage assisted-living facilities and nursing homes
  • Clinical managers are the administrators over specific departments in large hospitals such as surgery or pediatrics. Many clinical managers have a background in the field they manage prior to becoming administrators; for example, a nursing director was at one time a floor nurse before taking a degree in management
  • Health information managers oversee the management of patient records. This field has become very important in recent years as patient confidentiality has become crucial and records become digitized.

How Much Do Health Systems Managers Earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median annual wage of health systems managers was $84,270 in 2010. However, there is a great deal of variation in the earnings of health systems managers depending on the type of jobs and the size of the facility.

What Is The Job Outlook for Health Systems Managers?

The number of jobs for health systems managers of all types is expected to grow by 22 percent between now and 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The need for managers in healthcare systems is predicted to grow quickly because healthcare in general is a growing field and many companies and organizations are looking for more efficient ways to run their clinics and facilities.

The largest amount of growth should occur in fields that deal with geriatric care. The aging population will demand more healthcare in the coming years and areas that meet these needs will offer the most opportunity for new management positions. Many management positions may be created as subsidiary assistantships to existing health systems managers, or may be created by promoting current managers to positions of more responsibility.

How Do I Become a Health Systems Manager?

There are three pathways to becoming a health systems manager. The path you choose will depend on your current job situation, your previous training, and the type of job you want to pursue.

Move up from your current job – If you are already a director of a department or group, you may have an opportunity to move up in your current organization. In order to prepare yourself for this move, it is usually wise to have as much education as possible, so many people return to school to take a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration. If you are planning to become a nursing home administrator, you must also obtain state certification; you may need certification for other jobs, as well.

Seek a degree in healthcare administration – Many schools offer specific degrees in healthcare management; otherwise, a general business management degree will often prepare you for many of the job duties of a health systems manager.

Move into healthcare administration from another field – If you are already a manager at another type of business or organization, you may be able to secure a job as director or manager of a healthcare institution. However, you will likely need to take classes or receive some type of training to understand the particular problems facing the healthcare industry.

Health systems managers must be organized and have good problem-solving abilities. If you are interested in the healthcare field, considering a health systems management program may just help you realize your career goals.

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