By DeVry University
Behind the scenes of every hospital, health system and healthcare practice are teams of non-medical professionals keeping the day-to-day operations of the organization running. They are administrators and managers working in healthcare business jobs like health policy, finance, information systems and billing and coding. These are the critical individuals who are aware of healthcare service lines and industry trends, can speak intelligently around medical concerns and issues and are continuously working to improve the nuances of the patient experience. Pursuing roles like these often require skill sets in healthcare administration or healthcare management.
The Business of Healthcare
A healthcare administration or healthcare management career can offer you the opportunity to help people as part of a medical organization without working in a clinical role. The job instead focuses on keeping the business healthy and keeping people and processes moving as systems and practices become larger and more complex.
As most people are aware, today’s healthcare industry is a big business. According to the 2020 Edition of the AHA Hospital Statistics Survey, there were 6,146 hospitals in the United States in 2018. These facilities consisted of 924,107 staffed patient beds and account for more than 36 million annual patient admissions. Total expenses top one trillion dollars that year alone.
Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid also estimates that national health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5% per year, reaching nearly six trillion dollars by 2027. That includes Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and out-of-pocket costs. Hospital spending is also projected to increase by 5.7% per year on average through 2027, with elevated costs coming from hiring and wage growth.
Business Education Options Specializing in Healthcare
The healthcare industry is becoming more digitized than ever before, with efforts to improve quality, safety and patient satisfaction. Because of this, healthcare business jobs often require foundational knowledge of accounting and finance, human resources, marketing, healthcare information technology and project management.
Pursuing a healthcare administration degree or business degree specializing in healthcare management can be helpful if you’re interested in careers in these fields. Both can prepare you to work in a doctor’s office, hospital, health system or insurance company. Depending on your role, you might be responsible for:
- Impacting the organization’s bottom line through efficiency efforts
- Helping manage costs while improving quality of care
- Working with electronic medical records systems
- Securing patient data consistent with privacy laws
- Building relationships across medical and non-medical teams
- Ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations
- Participating in hiring and onboarding new employees
- Innovating new models of integrated patient care
A comprehensive degree program will focus on problem solving and how to apply technology and data to optimize hospital or system resources. You should expect to gain hands-on skills in research, data analysis, business operations and managerial leadership.
Business Career Paths in Healthcare
The healthcare ecosystem is deeply intertwined. Each functional area has an impact on the others—and ultimately on patient care. It’s a complex business with a lot of possibility, particularly as automation and digitization continues as a growing trend.
Still, healthcare is about people first. Explore a few healthcare business jobs that can allow you to work in this rewarding industry while exercising your business and technology skills:
Think about everything it takes to run a hospital. Medical and non-medical staffing, high-tech equipment, professionally sanitized rooms, information systems, insurance and billing and patient admission and discharge. There are tasks to complete around labs, pharmacies, food service, housekeeping, landscaping, inventory control and more.
The areas in which to focus a healthcare administration career can be vast. You may want to manage a department or a function, a specialty medical service or an entire hospital. Trends within the industry can help you pursue a range of career options as a detail-driven leader with good collaboration skills. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 32% growth rate on a national level in Medical and Health Services Manager jobs from 2019 to 2029—which is much faster than average.1
Physician Practice Management
Every doctor’s office you visit has had a busy team working behind the scenes. This includes employees who handle scheduling, insurance, billing, medical records and all of the other tasks that facilitate patient care.
These employees work under the direction of a Physician Practice Manager who keeps things running smoothly, whether for one doctor or for many. These leaders manage everything from rent and staffing to insurance reimbursement and equipment purchases.
Medical Billing and Coding
Medical billing and coding are two subspecialties under the umbrella of health information management. These professionals work hand-in-hand to bill out healthcare services and ensure those services are coded correctly to receive accurate payment.
Medical Billers oversee teams that submit medical claims to insurance companies, charge out any copays, and process invoices and payments. Medical Coders make sure that those claims contain the correct codes for services that the patient received. These codes are critical for proper billing and payment and also appear in the patient’s medical record. It’s a specialty that demands accuracy and detail-orientation with in-depth knowledge of coding regulations and standards.
1Local Growth Will Vary by Location. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm