Healthcare management covers the leadership and general management of hospitals and other healthcare facilities in order to deliver quality healthcare to patients. To achieve this, healthcare managers must provide direction and support to divisions, departments, units, or services within these facilities.
The ultimate goal of a healthcare manager is to achieve high performance in the operational entities within his or her sphere of influence. An online program for a degree in healthcare management provides a sound launching pad for a career in this sector.
Skills, Concepts, or Opportunities Gained With a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management Degree
A typical healthcare management curriculum includes the following areas to develop a student’s skills and knowledge:
- Professionalism and communication between healthcare workers and patients. The quality of communication between healthcare workers and patients can ultimately improve health outcomes. Positive relationships will increase a patient’s capacity to follow through with medical advice, self-manage a chronic medical condition, and adopt preventive measures to improve health. Students can learn the value of professional communications in all their dealings with patients and other healthcare workers.
- Healthcare compliance and quality in a value-based care system. Ethics and compliance with healthcare standards and legal requirements are essential for quality care. A compliance and ethics program is mandatory under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Students may learn the critical importance of these three aspects—compliance, ethics, and quality—in healthcare management.
- Privacy and tech-related security as tied to HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) imposes regulations for the protection of privacy and security of health information. Whereas the privacy aspect of HIPAA focuses on an individual’s right to control the use of personal information, the security regulation focuses on the administrative, physical, and technical safeguarding of patient data.
- Population health management. Population health management is a discipline within healthcare management that studies healthcare information and facilitates healthcare delivery for individuals, groups of people, or the general population. The primary goal of population health management is to gather and analyze clinical data across many healthcare settings to identify opportunities to improve both the patient’s health and the provider’s financial outcomes.
Common Courses for Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management Students
The following courses are typical for a healthcare management curriculum:
Patient Partnering/Population Health Management. Any successful medical practice or healthcare system depends on patient partnership and engagement. In this course, students may gain the opportunity to examine formal and informal programs and strategies to facilitate this partnership and engagement. Students may also learn how to enhance the performance of a medical practice, provide quality care and outcomes, and improve patient satisfaction.
Healthcare Informatics. During this course, students can learn about the evolution of software and technology. They may also gain an understanding of which technologies are appropriate based on the needs, size, specialty, and sophistication of a medical practice. Students can also learn about how applicable federal mandates, such as PQRS and Meaningful Use, relate to medical practice technology. The course covers the application of HIPAA requirements as related to practice management software and includes a discussion of HIPAA privacy and security standards. Students may undertake case studies and written assignments to learn how to maneuver through the software and technology, negotiation, and implementation process.
Healthcare Compliance and Quality. Quality and regulatory compliance issues associated with a healthcare practice are examined in depth during this course. Students are offered a broad base of foundational compliance knowledge with real-world solutions. They may also gain an insight into the study and application of regulatory requirements for quality and performance improvement. Course topics typically include an overview of the OIG-recommended Compliance Program for Physicians, coding and billing, and reimbursement issues. The course also usually covers discussions related to statutory and regulatory compliance, such OSHA, CLIA, and HIPAA Privacy and Security, as well as other quality-based programs affecting healthcare, such as pay-for-performance and RAC programs. Students may explore quality improvement techniques, with an emphasis on the roles of patients and healthcare professionals in improving healthcare delivery; outcomes tracking; analysis; and the impact on practice performance and patient care.
Professionalism and Communication in the Healthcare Setting. Students may gain knowledge of the different stakeholders in healthcare settings and the importance of effective communication. The course may cover the impact of social media, effective communication with patients and families, and the role of communicating for purpose and policy change. Students can develop their communication skills while gaining an understanding of the importance of collaborative problem-solving, cultural sensitivity, and the need for continuous learning through presentations, case studies, and written assignments.