The management of a health care facility or a health care system requires expertise. Similar to many industries, the individual that has a health care leadership or management role often has a specific skill set and experience. Skill sets frequently include project and program management, the ability to lead staff, flexibility and budgetary oversight. The American College of Health Care Executives notes that depending on the size of the facility, an executive may have oversight for a small or expansive staff. The health care executive must also have the ability to relate to patients as well as the patient's family. Educational requirements often include at least a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree may be preferred. In some cases, clinical experience, such as a nursing background or physician experience, is needed.
The National Center for Health Care Leadership notes that health care management involves the use of information technology. Health care is in the process of being transformed, and the role of information technology cannot be overlooked. Information technology has numerous applications in health care, from the front office registration process to the online assessment of patients through a telemedicine system. Information technology systems provide administrators and clinicians with metrics and outcomes that can influence the delivery of health care. The use of information technology in health care can also support best practices for the optimal delivery of patient care.
Health care coding is an essential component many health care organizations, including clinics or hospital settings. The World Health Organization has an International Classification of Diseases (ICD) that are used to create specific medical codes, such as ICD-9 and ICD-10. The ICD codes are used by health care organizations to document specific patient diagnosis, such as congestive heart failure or a broken arm. Coding has a key role in billing and reimbursement. Statisticians and health care leaders also review ICD codes and clinical data to support strategic planning efforts.
Capacity is an important aspect of health care management. Capacity is the ability of an existing health care entity, including providers such as physicians and nurses, to provide the services that are needed by the patients. Capacity also supports a safe and comfortable environment for the patients Capacity must remain a key priority for the health care leadership team. In a clinic or hospital setting, the management team will need to evaluate if the current structure, such as buildings, beds and waiting areas, are sufficient to meet the needs of the patients, staff and family members. The health care system that does not have adequate capacity may be challenged to fully meet the needs of the patient population.
Health care management involves fiscal oversight. Health care costs are a complex topic that impacts every component of the health care delivery system. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that health care expenses in the United States exceeded $2 trillion in 2008. In 2008 the cost for health care per family was approximately $7,600. Health care managers and leaders are exploring ways to contain costs while ensuring that safe and effective patient care is delivered. Health care management supports health care systems to remain conscientious of revenue and expenses while promoting patient outcomes, patient satisfaction and optimal patient care.
Health care management can be defined as the use of clinical and information technology, as well as managerial and leadership skills, to ensure the optimal delivery of health care. Health care is an expansive industry that ranges from preventative care, to emergency services, to follow-up and rehabilitation. Without effective management, the coordination of health care is not possible.