What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration?

What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration?

If you are considering a career in healthcare and want to know the difference between healthcare management vs. healthcare administration, then this article will provide you with some key information. The terms healthcare administration and healthcare management are often interchangeably used, but there are unique differences between these two careers. Healthcare administration focuses on the business side of an organization, managing individual departments and budgets, overseeing day-to-day operations, and human resources. Healthcare management, on the other hand, focuses on the overall needs of the entire organization. 

Healthcare management is concerned about the “big picture” needs of an organization as well as patients. They plan and execute organization-wide initiatives and manage the direction of a healthcare facility or system. Health services managers help direct and manage organizational policies and procedures. A healthcare administrator is more focused on individual areas and departments, using and directing human resources within a department. Looking at healthcare management vs. healthcare administration more closely, we find that healthcare managers support the overall business needs of an organization. In contrast, healthcare administrators support that and use healthcare knowledge to lead on issues related to organizational management. Together they provide leadership for day-to-day operations and for monitoring clinical and non-clinical staffing needs and functions. 

Students should research and explore the similarities and differences between healthcare management and administration before choosing a particular field. To better understand the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration, it is important to delve deeper into the explanation of each. 

What Is Healthcare Administration?

What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration?

Healthcare administration involves overseeing and managing staffing and other resources for medical organizations and institutions. It also includes sharing certain responsibilities with healthcare management executives to ensure the facility runs efficiently. Administrators are often responsible for an entire facility, but they may oversee a specific department for larger organizations. Their duties are varied and may include:

  • Keeping records for the staff.
  • Providing human resource services.
  • Making and maintaining staff schedules. 

The main goal of a healthcare administrator is to gain and manage quality staff to ensure the organization is functioning smoothly and efficiently and delivering quality healthcare. Healthcare administrators focus on what kind of services an organization offers to its patients. Though they don’t personally administer medical treatment to their facility’s patients, they play a significant role in treatments and options available to all patients.

Different healthcare administration careers may include:

  • Hospital administrator
  • Hospital manager
  • Medical staff directors
  • Financial manager
  • Ambulatory care manager
  • Community health centers manager
  • Medical coding and billing manager
  • Database administrator
  • Senior care staff manager

Where do healthcare administration professionals work?

What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration?

Most healthcare administration professionals work in hospitals and health clinics, but their services are needed to manage staff in any medical organization or related institution. Other top employers for healthcare administrators include physician offices, government agencies of health, nursing facilities, universities and research institutions, and outpatient care centers. They make a profound impact on patients, organizations, and their staff. Simply put, they touch upon all aspects of staff and process management within various units, departments, floors, or an entire facility within a healthcare setting.

Are healthcare administration professionals in demand?

According to the BLS, there is increasing demand for medical and health services managers, including healthcare administrators. Jobs in the field are projected to increase by 32% through 2028 for a total of 133,200 new jobs.

What are the duties of a healthcare administrator?

The main goal of healthcare administrators is to ensure that their facilities are equipped with enough supplies and staff to operate to treat patients efficiently. They work directly with the people who work directly with patients instead of the patients themselves. Their key duties include: 

  • Developing and implementing policies for employees
  • Create schedules for employees to ensure there are enough people during working hours to provide services to patients
  • Perform human resource services for the employees
  • Communicating with employees about changes in policy
  • Maintain patient records
  • 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
  • Hiring and training new employees to fill in new positions
  • Ensure their facility or organization is up to code and always following regulations and laws

Healthcare administrators are leaders who apply healthcare principles and methodologies as they manage people and processes. They support policies for the delivery of care and services that impact patient populations. They stay on top of trends related to:

  • Healthcare economics
  • Healthcare quality
  • Healthcare reimbursement
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Health disparities
  • Healthcare information systems

A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration provides students with a foundational knowledge of all the above and prepares them for a successful career in the field. Students can start with entry-level jobs or graduate studies like a MA or MS in Healthcare Administration. Some schools also offer an MBA in Healthcare Administration. Degree programs align with the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) which identified four key competencies for healthcare administrators:

  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Computational skills
  • Social and cultural context analysis skills

 What Is Healthcare Management?

What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration?

Talking about healthcare management vs. healthcare administration, we can easily see that one key difference between administration and management lies in the accounting aspect of healthcare management. While administrators focus more on a business-inward patient-focused approach, healthcare managers are more concerned with the overall operations.

Healthcare management involves the overall management of a healthcare facility, such as a clinic or hospital. A healthcare manager oversees the day-to-day operations of the facility, ensuring that it is running efficiently. Their duties are diverse and range from managing the goals of the facility’s practitioners, overseeing and managing the budget, and looking into the needs of the community. Health services managers are typically more concerned with financial management, supplies, and the facility’s overall maintenance and ensure that the healthcare facility is financially stable.

Healthcare managers coordinate with healthcare administrators, and together, they ensure the smooth running of operations. These two branches also work together to make decisions about performance evaluations, budgeting, social media updates, staff expectations, and billing. They collaborate with medical staff leaders on various issues such as department budgets, medical equipment, and operational goals. 

They ensure that the healthcare provider they work for has a healthy balance between goals and budget. Healthcare managers work within the healthcare organization to 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.

What are the duties of a healthcare manager?

The duties of a healthcare management professional include any task related to operations and the facility’s budget. They ensure that the facility’s employees have the tools and resources to do their jobs well, scrutinize department budgets, and supply the facility with everything it needs to provide patients with the best care available to them.

Healthcare managers will also be responsible for researching, creating, and implementing a business plan, developing business strategies that will help the facility reach its goals while staying within budget, and keeping track of medical regulations and laws to ensure their facility is in accordance. Their key duties include: 

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

Healthcare management covers various job titles like healthcare supervisors, clinical directors, health coordinators, and nursing home facilitators. They maintain a good relationship with doctors, nurses, and all department heads and often have degrees in healthcare management. They design patient care surveys, address any patient complaints, and ensure patients receive quality care through their facility. Depending on the organization’s size, they may also act as a spokesperson when liaising with the media. 

Different healthcare management careers may include:

  • Executive director in a hospital
  • Practice administrator
  • Public health director
  • Social welfare administrator
  • Health advocate
  • Health services manager

Where do healthcare management professionals work?

What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration?

Healthcare managers typically work in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. They work side-by-side with their healthcare administration counterparts in any organization or facility that offers health services. These could range from large hospitals to even nonprofits that need a dedicated healthcare management team to perform their duties.

Are healthcare management professionals in demand?

Healthcare management professionals are increasingly rising in demand. BLS projects a positive job outlook. Jobs in the field are expected to increase by 18%, or 71,600 new jobs, through 2028.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum qualification for a healthcare management professional. It provides learners with academic and industry knowledge of a business environment within healthcare. However, those with associate degrees can get into entry-level positions and then work on their bachelor’s for further advancement. They get a foundational knowledge in fields like policy, operations, accounting, organizational and facilities management, healthcare law, ethics, and compliance.

A healthcare management student may choose to become specialized in a particular area and develop the skills to advance in their position. It will help students move into leadership roles in general management, practice management, data analytics, quality management, supply chain management, and overall running a healthcare organization. Bachelor’s in healthcare management salary is a great starting point, but to earn more and grow in their careers, a master’s degree is a good career option. 

As we can see, there are many job opportunities for students considering healthcare management vs. healthcare administration. With the right education, students can get into successful administrative and healthcare management careers. Both fields require certain leadership and soft skills. With experience and advanced digress, they can move to executive or c-suite level roles. 

Which pays more healthcare management or healthcare administration?

Salary can vary on many factors such as education, experience, location, organization size, and employer. A bachelor’s in healthcare management salary will be more than an associate’s degree, but students have to pursue graduate studies to earn more. With more experience and education, the earning potential always increases. 

  • The annual average salary for a healthcare administrator in the United States is $92,526.
  • The annual average salary for a healthcare manager in the United States is $92,352. 

How to get started? 

The first step in becoming a healthcare professional is to get the right education and degree. By choosing the degree level, courses and specializations, students can get a head start in their healthcare careers. Immersive classes and diverse topics will prepare them for the next steps in their professional life. 

The choice of degree will depend on whether they want to work more on the administrative side or in management. In many cases, healthcare administrators may only need a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration to get into the field. On the other hand, healthcare managers may need a master’s degree, MS, MA, or an MBA in Healthcare Management. 


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