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Healthcare Management vs. Healthcare Administration: What’s the Difference?

Healthcare management and healthcare administration share enough similarities that people often refer to the positions interchangeably. However, they also have significant differences that should be considered before pursuing a career in either field. Mount Vernon Nazarene University has helped adult learners balance education with busy work schedules through accelerated on-campus and online programs. Here, we discuss the differences between healthcare management and healthcare administration to assist you with your career decision.

Healthcare Management

Healthcare management focuses on the business aspects of the facility to ensure all employees receive sufficient pay and provide exceptional services. These professionals manage the finances, supplies, and maintenance of the building to ensure processes go smoothly. When it comes to the accounting aspect of running a healthcare organization, managers are primarily concerned with financial stability. In other words, they pay more attention to overall operations.

Job Responsibilities

The size or type of the healthcare facility often determines the duties of managers. At a smaller organization with fewer people to supervise in each department, you may be in charge of numerous tasks. At large hospitals with multiple healthcare management professionals, you may take on a more specialized role.

Generally speaking, most healthcare managers are responsible for tasks related to the budget. They must supply doctors, nurses, and other employees with the necessary resources to deliver patients top-notch care. At higher levels, healthcare managers may also research and design strategies to help organizations reach business goals while remaining within budget limits. Other healthcare management responsibilities may include:

Required Education and Experience

As healthcare management is more about business than medical practices, you may qualify for a position in the field with a degree in accounting, business, or marketing. While prospective job candidates may obtain entry-level positions with an associate’s degree, many positions prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for healthcare management professionals are in demand. Between 2020 and 2030, a 32% growth in opportunities is projected, with an average of 51,800 new openings each year. While most healthcare managers can find work in hospitals, professionals may also find work in other medical institutions and non-profit organizations.  

Healthcare Administration

The main goal of healthcare administration is acquiring the best talent and supervising the staff to ensure patients are cared for properly. While they are not responsible for treating patients directly, healthcare administration professionals play a vital role in the treatments their facility offers. They also perform human resource services that help doctors serve their patients, including creating employee schedules and maintaining records.

Healthcare administrators track patient information, assess the risks associated with certain treatments, and review facility policies to verify that the medical organization complies with government regulations. This responsibility may include generating risk-management plans to ensure the hospital or facility maintains its integrity.

Job Responsibilities

Administrators may coordinate with healthcare managers to help keep the medical institution efficient. Depending on the organization's size, this professional may be responsible for a specific department or the entire facility. While the main focus areas of a healthcare administrator are well defined, specific daily duties for each position will vary. Other possible responsibilities include:

  • Conducting a regular inventory of the hospital’s stock of supplies
  • Updating filing systems for patient medical records
  • Creating a supply-chain management plan
  • Evaluating the health of the overall patient population to determine how successful the facility is in providing care

Required Education and Experience

While you may only need a business degree to become a healthcare manager, you must have a specific degree to enter the healthcare administration field. A bachelor's degree is the primary qualification many job candidates need to pursue a career in healthcare administration, but a master’s degree may increase your chances of obtaining an upper-level position in the field.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics records the same growth rate for healthcare administration positions as it lists for healthcare management jobs. Furthermore, diverse career opportunities are available specifically to administrators. The following examples are rewarding career paths you can pursue with a master’s degree in healthcare administration:

  • Medical entrepreneurship
  • Policy analyst or researcher
  • Pharmaceutical project manager
  • Hospital administration

Pursue a Master’s in Healthcare Administration with MVNU

Understanding the differences between healthcare management and healthcare administration helps you make a more informed decision about your career aspirations. If you prefer the responsibilities for administrators, consider pursuing an MBA in Healthcare Administration at MVNU. This graduate program prepares adult learners for leadership roles in medical facilities through 100% online courses. Request information online today to learn more about our high-quality program.

  • Meeting with department heads, investors, and other entities tied to the facility
  • Hiring, training, and scheduling staff
  • Discovering methods for optimizing operations

Healthcare and Nursing School

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