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What is the Difference Between Healthcare Administration and Management?

Written by Autumn Granza on Wednesday, 05 August 2020. Posted in Healthcare

People working in office setting.

While both roles ensure the smooth operation of healthcare facilities, healthcare management focuses on overseeing the direction of the facility and company-wide initiatives and needs. Healthcare administration focuses on individual departments, day-to-day operations, and staffing.

What is Healthcare Management?

Healthcare management is the overall management of health systems. Healthcare managers oversee the business side of care and ensure the facility they manage continues to grow operationally, financially, and medically. Managers plan and execute medical and health services while verifying patients and their families receive the best care possible.

Healthcare managers may work with physicians and implement policy changes. They may also have a hand in the budget and accounting side of the business and lead marketing efforts or take on a human resource role. Healthcare managers must also implement changes that meet state or national laws and regulations as well as keep up with technology changes.

What is Healthcare Administration?

Healthcare administration is the management or leadership of health systems, such as hospitals or hospital networks, and involves making decisions that affect the organization's day-to-day operations. Healthcare administrators supervise the daily operations of healthcare facilities. Admins may oversee a whole facility or specific departments. Tasks may include updating records, managing the budget, developing goals for the facility, and ensuring the facility complies with laws and regulations. Healthcare admins also recruit and manage staff, keep records of the facility’s services, and communicate with department heads.

What are the differences?

While both roles work to ensure the overall success of healthcare systems, there are differences between healthcare management and administration. The key difference is that healthcare management runs the organization and healthcare administration oversees departments and staffing. Some other differences include

  • Education level. Typically, healthcare management positions require an advanced degree, such as a bachelors or masters. On the other hand, healthcare administration roles may hold an associate degree for entry level jobs.
  • Policies and procedures. Those in healthcare management focus on the overall needs and priorities of the entire organization. Instead of “big picture,” those in healthcare administration use those priorities and implement them to their department or staff.
  • Career goals. Those interested in working office duties, such as scheduling staff and medical billing and coding work, may prefer a career in healthcare administration. However, if you prefer data analytics and want to be an informed decision-maker, then a career in healthcare management may be right for you.

What are the similarities?

Aside from both being careers in the growing healthcare field, admins and managers may have related responsibilities. Some of these include

  • Work place. Healthcare administrators and managers work in the same environment. These include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.
  • Skills. Since admins and managers typically hold higher positions, they often both possess analytical, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.
  • Job duties. While not always the case, it’s possible that admins and managers may perform similar job responsibilities. Careers in both positions may involve creating schedules, maintaining records, and improving how the facility functions.

In some instances, the roles may be the same in a facility that has a lower budget or needs to make cuts.

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