What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration?

Key Takeaways:

  • Healthcare administration focuses on the business side of medical facilities, managing departments, budgets, operations, and human resources.
  • Healthcare management looks at the organization’s overall needs, planning initiatives, managing the direction of facilities, and policies.
  • On average, healthcare administration and healthcare management jobs pay similar salaries.
  • Both roles provide leadership for daily operations, monitor staffing needs, and ensure high-quality healthcare delivery.

Many students considering a leadership career in healthcare want to know the difference between healthcare management vs. healthcare administration. This article will provide you with some vital information. The terms are often used interchangeably. Both jobs are grouped under the umbrella of “medical and health services managers.” But there are unique differences between these two careers. Healthcare administration focuses on the business side of a medical facility. Tasks include managing individual departments and budgets, overseeing day-to-day operations, and human resources. Healthcare management focuses on the needs of the entire organization/ medical facility. 

The healthcare management career path concerns the “big picture” needs of an organization and patients. These managers plan and execute organization-wide initiatives. They manage the direction of a healthcare facility or system. Health services managers help direct and manage organizational policies and procedures. A healthcare administrator focuses more on individual areas and departments. This means using and directing human resources within a department. Let’s look at healthcare management vs. healthcare administration more closely. Health care managers support the business needs of an organization. In contrast, healthcare administrators use healthcare knowledge to lead on issues related to organizational management. Together, they provide leadership for day-to-day operations, They also monitor clinical and non-clinical staffing needs and functions for a medical facility. 

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Students should research the similarities and differences between healthcare management and administration. Preferably, this is a step they will take before choosing a particular field or career path. 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?

Healthcare administration oversees and manages staffing and other resources for medical organizations and institutions. It also shares specific responsibilities with healthcare management executives. This is to ensure the facility runs efficiently. Administrators are often responsible for an entire facility. But healthcare administration professionals may oversee a specific department for larger organizations. Their job duties are varied and may include the following:

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

Healthcare administrators oversee a hospital’s staff. They aim to gain and manage quality staff. This ensures the organization functions smoothly and efficiently and delivers quality healthcare. Healthcare administrators focus on what kind of services an organization offers to its patients. They don’t personally administer medical treatment to their facility’s patients. Still, they play a significant role in treatments and options available to all patients. If you want to know more about the profession, check out our article on healthcare administration degrees and what you can do with them.

Different healthcare administration careers and job titles 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?

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 in healthcare administration include the following:

  • physician offices
  • government agencies of health
  • nursing facilities
  • universities and research institutions
  • outpatient care centers

These medical and health services professionals make a profound impact on patients, organizations, and their staff. Simply put, they touch upon all aspects of staff and process management. This includes various units, departments, floors, or an entire facility within a healthcare setting.

Are career paths for healthcare administration professionals in demand?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is increasing demand for medical and health services managers. This includes leadership positions for healthcare administrators. Jobs in the field are projected to increase by 28% through 2031 for a total of 136,200 new jobs.

What are the duties of a healthcare administrator?

The main goal of healthcare administrators is to ensure that their facilities are equipped. They must have 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 main duties include: 

  • Developing and implementing policies for employees
  • Create schedules for employees
  • 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. They apply healthcare principles and methodologies to manage people and processes. They support policies for delivering care and services that impact patient populations. Their career paths demand they stay on top of trends related to:

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

A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration program provides students with a foundational knowledge. This degree in healthcare prepares them for a successful career in the field. Students can start with entry-level jobs or graduate studies for an 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). This organization has identified four critical 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?

One key difference between administration and management lies in the accounting aspect of healthcare management. Administrators focus more on a business-inward, patient-focused approach. Healthcare managers are more concerned with the business operations, including financial aspects.

In terms of career paths, healthcare management involves the general management of a healthcare facility. An example would be a clinic or hospital. A healthcare manager oversees the facility’s day-to-day operations, ensuring that it runs efficiently. Their duties are diverse. They may include managing the goals of the facility’s practitioners, overseeing and managing the budget, and looking into the community’s needs. Health services managers are typically more concerned with business aspects. These might include financial management, supplies, and the facility’s maintenance. They also ensure that the healthcare facility is financially stable.

Healthcare managers coordinate with healthcare administrators. 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
  • billing

They collaborate with medical staff leaders on various issues. These could include 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. This ensures the people 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. This could include scrutinizing department budgets, for example. Managers are also responsible for supplying the facility with everything it needs to provide patients with the best care.

Healthcare managers focus on researching, creating, and implementing a business plan. They also develop business strategies that will help the facility reach its goals while staying within budget. Managers keep track of medical regulations and laws to ensure their facility is in accordance. Their essential duties include: 

  • Hiring and training staff
  • Meeting and coordinating with various department heads of healthcare organizations
  • 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 facility

Healthcare management focuses on preparing graduates for various job titles with healthcare providers. These may include healthcare supervisors, clinical directors, health coordinators, and nursing home facilitators. They maintain a good relationship with doctors, nurses, and all department heads. Managers often have degrees in healthcare management. They design patient care surveys, address any patient complaints, and ensure patients receive quality care. Depending on the organization’s size, they may act as spokespersons when liaising with the media. 

Different healthcare management positions 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?

Health care managers typically work in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. They work alongside their healthcare administration counterparts. Their place of work could include any healthcare organizations or facility that offers health services. These could range from healthcare facilities like large hospitals to nonprofits.

Are healthcare management professionals in demand?

Healthcare management professionals are increasingly rising in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a positive job outlook for this particular healthcare industry. Healthcare jobs in this subfield are expected to increase by 18%, or 71,600 new jobs, through 2028.

A bachelor’s degree is the lowest qualification for a healthcare management professional. It provides learners with academic and industry knowledge of a healthcare business environment. Those with associate degrees can get into entry-level positions with healthcare organizations. Then, they can work on their bachelor’s degree program for further advancement. With this degree in healthcare, they get a foundational knowledge in leadership skills and business aspects like:

  • policy
  • operations
  • accounting
  • organizational and healthcare facilities management
  • healthcare law
  • ethics
  • compliance
  • quality assurance
  • medical records
  • health information management

A healthcare management student may choose to become specialized in a particular area through a particular degree in healthcare. Doing so will help develop the skills to advance in their position. It will help students move into leadership roles in various areas. These could include 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. To earn more and grow in their careers, a master’s degree is a good career option. 

There are many job opportunities for students considering healthcare management vs. healthcare administration. With the proper education, students can enter successful administrative and healthcare management jobs. Both fields require specific leadership and soft skills. With experience and advanced degrees like master’s degrees or above, they can move to executive or c-suite level roles. 

Which pays more, healthcare management or healthcare administration?

Median annual 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. Students must pursue graduate studies or gain more leadership skills to earn more. With more experience and education, earning potential always increases. 

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

How To Get Started Toward Future Career Goals: Educational Requirements

The first step in becoming a healthcare professional is to get the right education and degree. Students can get a head start in their healthcare careers by choosing the degree level (i.e., bachelor’s degree or master’s degree), courses, and specializations. Immersive classes and diverse topics will prepare them for the next steps in their professional life. 

The degree choice will depend on whether they want to work more on the administrative side or in management. This will dictate whether they should pursue a healthcare administration program or master’s degree in health care management program. Often, healthcare administrators only need a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration to get into the field. Healthcare managers may need a master’s degree, MS, MA, or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management.