A healthcare administration degree can help you pursue a bright and enriching career, whether you’re a professional as a doctor , lawyer inside the industry or someone keen to break into it. Of course, it requires about four years or more of sweat, toil, anxiety, and money before you can start reaping the fruit of your labor.
Only after you have successfully waded through the mountains of coursework; endured the stress of preparing project reports; fought sleep on study nights; and braved the anguish of assessment days are you finally ready to don the coveted graduation gown and hat.
But what have you worked so hard for? A bright and enriching career for sure, but what exactly makes it so? Here are five factors that may make a career in healthcare administration the stuff dreams are made of, and why enrolling in a healthcare administration degree program could be a smart choice.
Job Security: Layoffs. Bankruptcies. Pay cuts. Reduced working hours. Decreased production. Diminishing demand. Whichever direction you turn, these are the words that cut like knife through your heart. Like it or not, such is the reality of the times we live in. Jobs are hard to come by and job security is a feeling that retired about the same time as our folks. Except for one bright spot that continues to shine through the dark clouds of economic recession: healthcare. The nature of the industry, which is among the largest employers in the country, makes it more or less resistant to financial ups and downs. Healthcare administration is one of the primary healthcare occupations and hence can offer stability and security at a time when almost every other industry seems to have been consumed by the recession.
Paycheck: While puritans of academia will argue against the wisdom of treating college education as business investment, the current economic environment does not leave any room for being a romantic. The truth is that you spend a precious amount of money on getting a college degree and hence, are absolutely justified in expecting returns from it. The excellent ROI they offer is one of the biggest things going in favor of healthcare degrees. As for healthcare administrators, they can make up to $84,270 per year in this profession, depending on education, experience, and location**.
Management Roles: Healthcare administrators are also called health service managers. Needless to say, it is a responsible position that can provide you a taste of life as a manager/leader. You make important decisions, you drive change, you decide business strategy, you implement organization-wide policies, you bring in improvements and efficiency, you attract talent, you mentor, you guide, you influence, and you impact how things function in your facility.
Of course, specific roles depend on your qualification, specialty, and the size of the facility. In really large facilities, senior executive and management roles are typically reserved for graduates of Master’s in Health Care Administration programs or other business/healthcare degrees.
Social Contribution: Healthcare administrators are not involved in direct patient care. They may not even visit patients all that often. But they touch the patient’s life on several levels. First, by continually making efforts to improve the quality of the healthcare delivery system. Second, by developing and leading healthcare outreach programs. Third, by advocating policy changes to improve the state of healthcare in society. And finally, by taking care of the more mundane details of running a healthcare facility, so doctors, nurses, and other primary healthcare providers can concentrate on caring for their patients.
Payment for Services
Although in many cases when medical services are paid by third parties, many are paid out of pocket by the consumer. Whether a consumer has an insurance policy that includes a high deductible or co-insurance responsibility, or a consumer is self pay and is solely responsible the payment of services, consumers’ ability to pay for services greatly influences their demand for them, even if they are medically necessary.
For elective services that are not considered medical necessary, consumers usually have to pay for the service mostly out of pocket, which will certainly affect its demand. In a booming economy, demand for such services would increase, as in a slumping economy demand would decrease.
Lack of Buyer Discretion
Consumers in healthcare rarely determine their need for services, as consumers within other industries usually determine their need for products and services. Healthcare services, which are consumed by the patient, are usually ordered by a physician. This is unlike any other industry, as the patient is prescribed a service that they must comply with.
Knowledge of Price
One of the most prevalent differences between healthcare consumers and other consumers is that healthcare consumers’ costs are usually covered by third parties (insurance). Because third party payers pay for most of a patient’s medical services, patients themselves are not usually involved in or even aware of the price of service. Patients rarely even have access to pricing information for services.
Never forget that before you get on a boat; you should make sure you have the right insurance coverege.
Evaluating Quality of Service
Most healthcare consumers do not experience the healthcare system until they have a need for services. Thus, when consumers evaluate services they receive, they form their opinions through subjective observations such customer service and the cleanliness of the facility. This is considerably different for consumers within other industries as they form their opinions about products through objective observations such as the quality of the product and the ease and effectiveness of its use.
Knowledge of Services
Healthcare consumers typically have limited knowledge regarding the services they are to receive, as other consumers are usually well informed about the products and services they are pursuing. Most consumers in other industries seek as much information about products to compare one from another.
Because of this, healthcare consumers usually lack the ability to evaluate the quality of service they receive, as other consumers very well can evaluate the quality of the product or service they receive.
Healthcare services are usually NOT marketed directly to healthcare consumers as they are not the ones that choose which services to receive in most cases. This is unlike other products and services which ARE directly marketed to the consumer.