Online Bachelor's in Healthcare Management

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What Is Healthcare Management, and How Can Technology Improve It?

As long as people become injured or ill, they’ll need caring, compassionate providers and caregivers who work in healthcare organizations. Those organizations require healthcare management professionals to direct their activities, to ensure continuous patient care improvement, and to select the right technology that will improve efficiency and patient health outcomes.

Nine healthcare team members pose smiling for a group photo in a hospital lobby

The future of healthcare management involves continuously leaner systems and management teams. But what is healthcare management and how can technology improve it? Healthcare managers must manage more medical facilities, clinics, or hospital departments than they did in the past. These skilled individuals provide a variety of functions, including policy administration, accounting, facilities management, and overall operations. They’re also responsible for reviewing and advising on new technology. All of these roles are focused on the same thing: patient-centered healthcare.

Students interested in healthcare management should understand the changing landscape of technology and how they can use it to their advantage in the field. They can prepare for a successful career by pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management degree from Maryville University.

What Is Healthcare Management?

Healthcare management and healthcare administration aren’t quite the same. However, many people use the two terms interchangeably, so what is healthcare management?

  • Healthcare managers oversee day-to-day clinic, department, or facility operations.
  • Healthcare managers supervise caregivers, providers, and staff and make sure the patients are satisfied with their healthcare experience.
  • On the other hand, healthcare administrators are the upper leadership team for the healthcare organization.
  • Healthcare administrators create strategic plans and ensure that the organization’s goals and budgets are met and that the organization is improving its healthcare service every year.

People who wish to pursue either of these careers typically need to obtain a healthcare management degree. Many already have experience in healthcare as a provider or caregiver. People who pursue a degree in healthcare management need a strong background in life sciences and communication. Positive interactions with patients, caregivers, and providers, as well as relationships with all healthcare team stakeholders, are essential to success as a healthcare management professional.

Careers in Healthcare Management

The need for healthcare managers continues to grow as the healthcare industry expands to meet the needs of a population that’s growing, aging, and increasing its overall longevity. Those who are wondering what healthcare management is can explore several health management careers. Healthcare management degree holders can pursue such positions as health and social services manager, health information manager, home health agency manager, and urgent care administrator, among other careers.

Health and Social Service Managers

Working in a variety of locations, health and social service managers manage the overall operations of their healthcare facilities. They ensure quality patient care through managing staff, creating and overseeing budgets, and developing policies.

Health Information Managers

The role of a health information manager is becoming more prominent as technology takes on a bigger role in healthcare. Health information managers analyze and organize electronic health records to control patient data. They manage a patient’s progress from beginning to end, tracking medical needs and outcomes.

Home Health Agency Managers

Home health agency managers work in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, and private agencies to help patients receive the care they need in their own homes. They’re in charge of hiring and overseeing their staff members and nurses, identifying the needs of patients, and ensuring quality patient care.

Urgent Care Administrators

Urgent care administrators play an important role, as their facilities are constantly taking care of patients with immediate issues. They oversee administrative responsibilities, from revenue cycle management to human resources.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies all four of these positions as belonging to the healthcare category of medical and health service managers. Accordingly, the median annual salary for professionals in these careers is $100,980. Since healthcare is the fastest-growing segment of the nation’s economy, the demand for healthcare management occupations is growing much faster than average. Jobs in healthcare management are projected to grow by 18% between 2018 and 2028.

Healthcare Management and Technology 

Although interpersonal skills are at the core of great healthcare management, many wonder how technology can improve it. In short, what is healthcare management’s future? Technological innovations have improved the quality of patient care by giving patients broader access to their medical records; adapting medical care to patients’ schedules; developing safer medical procedures, tests, and studies; and using technology to gather patient data, analyze it, and apply it in new ways. Today’s approach to healthcare management needs to adapt its policies and procedures to take advantage of technology to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Healthcare management professionals play important roles in the implementation of new technology. They must weigh the cost of these innovations against the benefits that technology brings to patient care and operational gains. The combination of assessing these advancements, creating implementation plans, and ultimately drafting and putting into place the operational processes and training to go with the new technology is a specialty unto itself. Healthcare managers and organizational leadership establish strategic priorities and ensure that all of a healthcare organization’s efforts are directed at reaching yearly goals and improving patient care and satisfaction.

Technology Improves Efficiency in Healthcare

The use of technology is an essential part of what healthcare management is and the direction it’s heading. As new technology becomes available, a healthcare management professional reviews the facility’s needs and implements the latest technology to increase efficiency and provide patients with improved care. Some of the most important technological advances on the horizon include wearable and implantable devices, telemedicine, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Wearable and Implantable Devices

Wearable and implantable medical devices are among the fastest-growing segments of the technology industry, with a 16% annual growth rate. These sensors are designed to collect and submit important patient data that can provide improved care. Data can be used in a variety of settings. For example, a device can alert emergency personnel when a patient falls. Wearables can monitor patients’ vital signs and activity levels, too. Some patients even log at-home physical therapy compliance via smart devices and apps, which can submit data to patients’ caregivers or providers. Implantable devices may be able to give doctors and care providers information about medical events and potential health emergencies.

Wearable and implantable devices are already available but are expected to continue to evolve in the coming years. Devices will become smaller and be able to collect and transmit more information than ever before. These devices will improve the way healthcare is managed.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine uses real-time interactive communication between providers and patients. Patients have access to providers whenever and wherever patients prefer. This technology takes advantage of the internet, audiovisual connectivity, and encryption methods to ensure that patient-provider interactions remain private and secure.

This cost-effective technology has led many employers to pursue telecommunication options, like telecommunication kiosks in the workplace, for their employees. Having this kind of healthcare access can potentially help to improve time on task and lower absenteeism, so businesses run more smoothly. This upgraded telemedicine technology provides patients with a private audiovisual portal. With the appropriate equipment and technology, telemedicine allows patients to record their vital signs, so the provider can perform an online assessment and give the patient sound medical advice.

Healthcare Data Analytics

Remote patient monitoring systems collect data from patients that can then be used to provide improved medical care. Information is reviewed and analyzed for each patient, and those findings are then instrumental in creating the patient’s continued care plan. Statistics such as physical activity, medication levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital data can be gathered and compiled for easy online viewing by medical professionals.

Remote monitoring will likely become even more important as a large segment of the population reaches old age, and it will be up to healthcare managers and administrators to build up the systems and data infrastructure required to support remote efforts. The ability to monitor patients on a remote basis will enable physicians to proactively treat potential medical problems to greatly enhance healthcare treatment options and improve quality of life.

Data analytics will also need to be properly managed as part of healthcare management. Patients will have more information available than ever before, but it has to be adequately secured. Administrators must also use resources to ensure that patient data is used in accordance with privacy laws and other legal guidelines.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

AI in healthcare analyzes anonymous patient medical data and uses that data to suggest diagnoses and treatment plans for individual patients. Patients submit themselves to medical studies and tests; AI compares the patients’ results with the test results from the hundreds of thousands of patients’ results in its database to produce recommendations. This deep medical knowledge frees providers up to choose the correct diagnoses and create care plans to treat a disease and fit patients’ lifestyles and priorities. As AI software improves, so too will medical organizations’ efficiency and patient outcomes.

Earn a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

Students pursue health sciences degrees because they want to improve people’s health on the individual level. However, those who choose healthcare management degrees do so because they want to improve patient health for larger populations. If you’re interested in what healthcare management is and how technology can improve it, explore how an online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management degree from Maryville University can bring you closer to the career you seek in healthcare management.

Recommended Readings
Healthcare Careers
Risk Management in Healthcare
Skills Every Health Administrator Should Have

Sources:
Business Insider, “Latest Trends in Medical Monitoring Devices and Wearable Health Technology”
Forbes, “Top 10 Health Care Industry Predictions for the Year 2020”
Medicaid.gov, Telemedicine
Modern Healthcare, “The Health System of the Future: How Digital Health Technology Is Transforming Care”
Proclinical, “Top 10 New Medical Technologies of 2019”