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What is Healthcare Management?

Delaware may have a small land mass, but it makes up for its geographical stature with a robust economy. In fact, Delaware is a leader in the nation's financial system. This is on account of the state's liberal taxation laws regarding corporations. Many credit card companies are based in Delaware, and many companies are incorporated in Wilmington in order to take advantage of the tax rates available there.

Delaware's financial industry leads the state's economy with a whopping $21 billion in revenue, ranking it 22nd nationwide. Meanwhile, Delaware's second strongest industrial sector is real estate, which generates around half as much revenue, $10 billion, and ranks 41st nationally. The third highest grossing industry in Delaware is business and professional services, which pulls in $9 billion annually and which ranks 38th nationwide. The #4 position brings in $6 billion annually and goes to social services including healthcare, education, and social assistance.

A healthcare manager is a professional who specializes in the administration of healthcare systems including hospitals, clinics, and small private medical practices. These administration professionals often come to their position from the clinical side, such as a nurse manager who transitions to an administrative position. Healthcare managers can work in a wide range of departments.

There are healthcare administration professionals who work in information technology, operations, marketing, and finance, to name a few possibilities. While each position has a mirror in the regular, for-profit business world, healthcare administration positions all serve the same mission: assuring the best care for patients in need.

Healthcare administration professionals work in a variety of environments. They are typically thought of as hospital administrators who try to ensure that the organization's resources are spent efficiently. However, they can also work in small clinics or single doctor practices. Most healthcare positions require that workers be on site to oversee their departments but some, such as those in healthcare informatics, can work from home, if their management agrees.

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Online Healthcare Management Education in Delaware

Since the social service industry ranks so high, it's clear that healthcare management is vital to Delaware's daily operations. After all, hospitals are not operated by nurses and doctors alone. The healthcare administration in each hospital, clinic, and private practice is the glue that holds everything together. Healthcare administrators not only oversee scheduling and payroll, but they also work to ensure that healthcare delivery is fair and ethical. Others in administration track how disease spreads in their community and help the system to prepare for outbreaks or ordinary fluctuations in diseases, such as the flu.

Delaware's colleges and universities thus work hard to build and maintain healthcare administration degree programs. These specialized degrees may mirror business degree programs, but they focus on issues specific to healthcare systems. After all, the economics of a healthcare system are quite different from those of a grocery store or a manufacturing facility. Health systems often are non-profit organizations and rely on payments from insurers such as Medicare and Medicaid. Healthcare management must also be aware of issues related to medical malpractice, patient privacy concerns, and other matters related to compliance which impact workers at all levels.

Online Associate Degree in Healthcare Management (AS)

One great way to start a career in healthcare management is with an associate healthcare management degree. A two-year degree is an expedient way to land an entry-level position in healthcare administration that workers can build on and create real success. The degree introduces students to core concepts and many community colleges have courses that focus on specific areas, such as healthcare marketing. Delaware community colleges also make this option very enticing.

Community colleges charge far less per credit hour than their four-year counterparts. This makes an associate healthcare administration degree a smart way to kick off a bachelor’s degree. Community colleges also require that all associate degree programs include the core college curriculum required of all bachelor’s degrees. This means that students can complete their core courses with small class sizes taught by top-notch instructors. They can then progress on to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor’s healthcare management degree if they so choose.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Management (BS)

Most employers prefer to see candidates who have a full four-year bachelor’s healthcare management degree. This has become a standard for hiring because recruiters like to see candidates who have a focused specialty area so they can jump directly into their work. Some Delaware bachelor’s healthcare management degree programs, for instance, offer a focus on areas such as management, marketing, healthcare informatics, and finance, to name a few.

A bachelor’s healthcare management degree program is also likely to offer students internship opportunities. These real-world learning experiences can be invaluable to students who are eager to succeed in the healthcare industry. They can choose the internship program that most closely matches their long-term goals. For instance, they can focus on interning with a healthcare informatics department, hospital operations, or healthcare finance. Hiring managers will be very interested to learn about the projects and other accomplishments that came from these experiential learning opportunities if you are looking to work in health services management.

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Online Master's Degree in Healthcare Management (MS)

A master’s healthcare management degree is often called a Master of Healthcare Administration, or MHA. This is the graduate level equivalent of an MBA. The benefit of an MHA over an MBA is that it focuses explicitly on the healthcare industry. The coursework is all focused on healthcare and all students in every cohort are active professionals in the healthcare industry. Those who are not active or experienced will soon be.

The MHA is valuable because it helps students earn the raises and promotions that are highly valued. An MHA also introduces many healthcare professionals who are on their way to the top. This makes for an excellent networking opportunity. In fact, many careers are made as a result of the MHA experience, both the academic training and the networking opportunities.

Healthcare professionals may also choose an MBA. This approach is perhaps equally valid to the MHA route. During the first year of an MBA, students are immersed in a general business education. The second year can concentrate on healthcare, provided the MBA degree program offers that concentration.

Online PhD Degree in Healthcare Management (PhD)

A doctorate isn't always highly sought when hiring healthcare managers. However, that may be changing. There are so many students graduating with MBAs and MHAs these days that a PhD might be just the thing to differentiate a candidate in the hiring pool. It may also be exactly what a firm is looking for in specific areas. Healthcare informatics, for instance, might be an area where a doctorate is highly sought, and healthcare systems also need better and brighter cyber security experts.

A PhD is also a great option for those who love the field and wish to teach it at the post-secondary level. While an MHA may be sufficient to teach at the undergraduate level, those without a doctorate are less likely to land a full-time tenure-track position with any college or university. Thus, those who are pursuing a career in academia should complete their doctoral theses.

Become a Healthcare Management in Delaware

Healthcare is a large part of everyone's life. Most of us were born in hospitals surrounded by a team of medical professionals and from that point we seek medical assistance when we get sick or need a preventative check-up. Healthcare is also a large part of Delaware's economy.

While it may seem clear how to enter the healthcare industry as a clinical practitioner, it's not always evident how students can become healthcare managers in Delaware. After all, those television shows focus on the doctors and nurses and often leave the hospital administration in the background. In reality, hospital administration is a large part of how healthcare is delivered. A healthcare administrator will make the budgets necessary to deliver care and they also ensure that their healthcare system can purchase cutting edge diagnostic equipment, and other resources vital to healthcare delivery.

Thus, healthcare administration is a field for those who are both interested in healthcare but not in the gritty details of clinical work, while also having the savvy of a businessperson. These special folks can get their careers started by first focusing their education on their goals.

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Even in high school, students can get a start on a career in healthcare administration. There are STEM-focused high schools where they can advance their knowledge of mathematics and healthcare. Their biology courses might focus on human anatomy and physiology and their physics courses might take a closer look at the optics of an eyeball or how medical imaging works. While students may not be interested in these clinically oriented topics, that knowledge will be vital down the road.

When it comes time to find the right college degree program for healthcare administration, students should be discerning. They should seek out the best, accredited degree program possible. Whether they want to start at a Delaware community college or a four-year college or university they should look for CHEA-approved accreditation if not a program-specific credential. Healthcare administration degree programs with accreditation from AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE. Those accreditation agencies are nationally recognized and any healthcare management degree program that carries their stamp of approval is sure to impress hiring managers nationwide.

Careers for Healthcare Management Graduates

  • Administrative Support Specialist
    This is a terrific entry level job for a budding healthcare administration professional. Administrative support professionals ensure that their supervisors have everything they need to succeed. An associate healthcare administration degree may be perfect for starting out in this position as the courses will provide a necessary introduction to healthcare administration.
  • Medical Secretary
    Clinical healthcare providers don't work in a vacuum. They need help from medical secretaries who have specific knowledge of the field. Medical secretaries may be called to transcribe notes from their doctors and should be highly organized when it comes to medical records. It never hurts when a medical secretary has worked as a nurse or elsewhere in the clinical side, but that exposure is less important.
  • Patient Service Representative
    These healthcare professionals are a vital part of the patient experience. They greet patients upon intake and are there to answer their questions and to generally orient them to the office or hospital. They also help patients schedule their next visits and send reminders so that patients don't forget their next doctor's appointment. Patient service representatives may work anywhere people receive healthcare services. They must be there on the frontlines to ensure a smooth and effective experience for all.
  • Healthcare Manager
    Each department in a healthcare system needs a manager to oversee daily operations. Department managers may schedule healthcare providers, submit numbers for payroll, and ensure that everyone has the tools and supplies they need to deliver the best healthcare possible.
  • Hospice Administrator
    End-of-life care is a large part of the healthcare picture. Patients are increasingly relying on hospice care to help them transition in the most pain-free and pleasant ways possible. A hospice healthcare administrator will oversee the day-to-day functioning of a hospice facility or department and create the health policy they will follow. They also monitor drug inventories and manage items such as payroll and scheduling.
  • Healthcare Clinic Manager
    Clinics are small medical facilities that patients turn to for less urgent matters or routine visits or check-ups. Healthcare clinic managers oversee the operations of these small organizations by making sure that all providers have the equipment and supplies they need, are paid on time, and have schedules that suit them and the clinic as a whole.
  • Chief Compliance Officer
    This is a very important position in any system in the healthcare industry. Compliance officers make sure that all applicable laws are followed in their hospital, clinic, skilled nursing facility, etc. To succeed in this position, it is necessary to have a strong working knowledge of all applicable laws as they impact healthcare and health policy. Compliance officers often need a strong background in medical ethics.
  • Health Information Manager
    Healthcare is a computerized field, much like any other. Health information managers need to have a strong background in information technology as it impacts health informatics, if not a healthcare informatics degree. Information managers typically have a master’s healthcare informatics degree, and many have an MBA or MHA that focuses on technology matters.

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