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Vocational Nursing graduate

Healthcare Administration vs. Healthcare Management: What’s the Difference?

Female and male healthcare worker

There are many similarities between healthcare management and healthcare administration, so it can be easy to mix the two up. Though they do overlap quite a bit, which is why they are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two.

If you're trying to make a more educated decision as to which best suits your career vision, keep reading to explore the similarities and differences between healthcare management and administration.

What Is Healthcare Administration?

Simply put, healthcare administration runs staffing for medical organizations and institutions, as well as sharing some responsibilities with healthcare management to ensure the facility is running the way it's supposed to. Healthcare administrators' main goal is to gain and manage quality staff to ensure the organization or institution they work for is functioning smoothly and efficiently.

Healthcare administrators are also focused on what kind of services they offer to their patients. Though they don't personally administer medical treatment to their facility's patients, they play a large role in what treatments are available to said patients.

Administrators might be responsible for an entire facility or a specific department. These professionals are in charge of keeping records for the staff, making schedules, providing human resource services, and anything else that might have to do with the staff of their facility.

The nature of an individual position under the healthcare administration umbrella changes depending on the job description. Smaller facilities have a smaller staff, which means fewer healthcare administrators required to maintain them. The larger the hospital or organization, the more the administration tasks get spread around to a larger team of professionals, each with their own responsibility to their place of work.

Where do healthcare administration professionals work?

A large percentage of healthcare administration professionals work in hospitals, but their services are needed in any medical organization or institution that has a staff to take care of. Other top employers for healthcare administrators include physician offices, nursing facilities, the government, and outpatient care centers.

Are healthcare administration professionals in demand?

According to the BLS, medical and health services managers, which include healthcare administrators, are in increasing demand (1). In 2018, there were 406,100 jobs, and that number is projected to increase by 18% from 2018 to 2028 for a total of 71,600 new jobs.

The states that employ the most medical and health services managers are California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts (2).

What Is Healthcare Management?

While healthcare administration is focused on filling healthcare organizations with staff, healthcare management focuses on running the organization itself. The healthcare management professional is more concerned with financial management, supplies, and the overall maintenance of the facility than simply the staff that runs it. Healthcare management professionals play an important part in making sure the healthcare facility is financially stable.

They ensure that the healthcare provider they work for has a healthy balance between goals and budget. Healthcare managers run the business side of their places of work to ensure the doctors, physicians, therapists, nurses, and others who work there can keep providing their services and receive their salaries.

One of the largest differences between administration and management is the accounting aspect of healthcare management. In this way, healthcare managers are more concerned with the overall operations of a facility as a whole, rather than the more business-inward patient-focused approach administrators take.

Where do healthcare management professionals work?

Healthcare management professionals often work side-by-side with their healthcare administration counterparts. Healthcare managers work most commonly in hospitals, but they work in any organization or facility large enough to warrant an employee solely dedicated to running the facility. Every healthcare organization, business, and institution works with money — even nonprofits — and they each need someone to look after their finances. That's where healthcare management teams perform their duties.

Are healthcare management professionals in demand?

Healthcare management professionals are in demand, and their job outlook is positive. In 2018, there were 406,100 medical and health services manager jobs and that number is expected to increase by 18%, or 71,600 new jobs, from 2018 to 2028 (3).

Healthcare Administrator Duties

The duties of a position in the field of healthcare administration depend largely on that position's job description. Their main goal is to ensure that their facilities are equipped to treat their patients by making sure they have enough supplies and staff to operate, as well as anything else the facility might need in the process.

Healthcare administrators work directly with the people who work directly with patients, but they rarely work with the patients themselves. They will create schedules for employees to ensure there are enough people during working hours to provide services to patients, maintain patient records, and perform human resource services for the employees. They might take on some of the responsibilities of hiring and training new employees to replace outgoing ones or to fill in new positions.

It's also a goal of healthcare administrators to make sure their facility or organization is up to code and always following regulations and laws. Part of this includes tracking information about the population health of the facility's clients, analyzing risks of treatments, meeting with governmental bodies, and communicating with department heads to make sure that everything is working in accordance with the law and the facility's own policies.

Duties of a healthcare administrator include:

  • Developing and implementing policies for employees, as well as communicating with employees about changes in policy
  • Keep an inventory of the facility's stock and supplies
  • Develop a supply chain management plan to increase efficiency
  • Make sure that the facility and the departments within it are adhering to budgets and plans
  • Measure the population health of a facility's patients to measure the success of the facility
  • Create, maintain, and update filing systems for patient medical records
  • Measure risks and develop plans for risk management

Healthcare Manager Duties

Similar to healthcare administration professionals, the duties of a healthcare management professional varies from position to position. But the healthcare management team as a whole is responsible for completing any task that has to do with the facility's budget.

The healthcare management professional will work with other staff to ensure that the business side of their facility is running smoothly. This means ensuring that the employees of the facility have the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs well, scrutinizing department budgets, and suppling the facility with everything it needs in order to provide patients with the best care available to them.

Much of the healthcare management professional's responsibility - especially at higher levels within the field - is researching, creating, and implementing a business plan for the facility they work for. The manager develops business strategies that will help the facility reach its goals while staying within budget. There is a lot of money flowing through healthcare facilities - the healthcare manager is there to see that it gets put to good use for the benefit of the staff and the patients alike.

Like healthcare administrators, healthcare management professionals may also keep track of laws and regulations to ensure their facility is in accordance. However, healthcare administrators may focus more on medical regulations and laws than healthcare management professionals do.

Again, the role of the individual healthcare management employee depends largely on their particular position. Management employees at smaller facilities may have a wider range of responsibilities, while those working for a large hospital may be in more specialized positions.

Other healthcare management duties may include:

  • Hiring and training staff
  • Maintaining records for the facility, including supplies and equipment information, services rendered, data on current patient counts, etc.
  • Meeting and coordinating with department heads
  • Meeting with investors and boards with interest or funds in the facility
  • Searching for ways to improve the efficiency of the healthcare facility
  • Scheduling shifts for staff

Education and Experience Requirements

Across the board, a bachelor's degree is suggested as a minimum qualification to be hired as a healthcare administration or management professional. The big difference is what you get that degree in.

That being said, some lower entry-level positions in both may hire those with associate degrees, but further advancement without a bachelor's degree may be challenging.

Healthcare Administration

Education plays a large role in clearing up the differences between healthcare administration and management. To become a healthcare administration professional, one must pursue an education specific to the field, as opposed to management, which can be entered with a business degree.

Generally, the bare minimum qualification to begin a career in healthcare administration is a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in healthcare administration. These degrees generally take four years to complete, unless you enroll in an specific program that helps you achieve your degree faster, such as Concorde's online Bachelor's of Science degree in Healthcare Administration, which can be completed in as few as 24 months.

From there, you might choose to pursue your master's degree, which can open up doors for internships and experience that will make you a more attractive candidate for higher-level healthcare administration positions.

Healthcare Management

To enter the world of healthcare management, you may find more opportunities with a bachelor's degree rather than an associate's degree. Healthcare management professionals can have a bachelor's degree in a wider selection of options. Candidates can use a wider selection of degree options to pursue a career in healthcare management, such as accounting, business, and marketing.

Many positions in healthcare management call for experience with accounting and business management, rather than health-related areas. Keep in mind that healthcare management is more about business than healthcare itself.

Once you have your bachelor's degree in an applicable field, you can continue your education by pursuing a master's degree, such as a master's degree in business administration, or MBA. This will put you in a better position to rise through the ranks of your facility or find a higher, better-paying job.

How Do I Get Started?

As with any new career choice, the first step in becoming a healthcare professional starts with education. However, finding the time and money for that education is the difficult part. That's where Concorde comes in.

Concorde's educational programs give you an opportunity to get a head start in your healthcare career with immersive classes that cover a variety of topics to get you ready to take the next step. Our Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration program lets you further your education online so that you can also take care of life's demands. Contact us today for more information on how to get started on the next step in your professional life.

Whether you want to work more on the administrative side or in management, you can train to start your healthcare career now at Concorde.


Footnotes

1. "Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Health Services Managers, Summary," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm 2. "Occupational Employment Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2018," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/oes/2018/may/oes119111.htm 3. "Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Health Services Managers, Job Outlook," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6

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Do you have an Associate's degree in health care field, which is a pre-requisite for this program?