What is a Medical and Health Service Manager?

A medical and health service manager is a medical administrator who plans, directs and coordinates patient services and facility operations. Some manage a large clinic, others oversee a few departments, but some are responsible for a few medical facilities. Medical and health service managers must keep up with changes in health care regulations and technologies.

Health Care Manager

The most common position for these health care professionals is an entry-level health care manager. They supervise employees and operations through making ethical decisions and following guidelines. They promote the professional development of their subordinates through providing education and cross-training opportunities. Related to this, they ensure that individual development plans are in place for staff. Health care managers must frequently communicate with all types of patients and employees.

They must demonstrate responsible stewardship over their assigned financial, equipment and human resources. They assist supervisors with around the clock management of patient care and health care services to ensure that optimal patient outcomes are achieved. They provide input for financial activities, such as budgetary and cost containment decisions, and also provide support with admission processes, such as discharges and assessments.

Medical Executive

Medical executives are senior managers who provide medical direction and consultation to health care staff and providers. They administer fiscal operations, such as planning budgets and authorizing expenditures, but also direct clerical, technical and maintenance personnel. Medical executives must continually review and expand existing medical programs and health services. They support health outreach and education services that promote community health. They develop organizational policies and establish performance evaluation guidelines.

Medical executives assist medical managers with establishing work schedules, staff assignments and space and equipment scheduling. Medical executives direct the preparation of status reports related to services and quality initiatives. Finally, they consult with business and community partners to coordinate activities, solve local health problems and promote health programs.

Training Requirements

Medical and health services managers must be knowledgeable of health care-based management principles and operational best practices. A master’s degree in health services, public health or business administration is the standard credential for most entry-level positions. Small clinics or facilities may accept a bachelor’s degree with direct health care administration experience, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Graduate programs are recommended because they only last a few years and generally include up to one year of supervised administrative experience. Coursework includes strategic planning, health economics, HR administration and health information systems. Depending on the department, the job candidate may be required to have appropriate field experience. This means that a nursing administrator must have worked as an RN supervisor and an facilities manager will need experience supervising maintenance staff.

Career Challenges

Medical and health services managers face ongoing challenges. For instance, the financing structure and technical capacities of health care organizations are rapidly changing. New medical and health service managers must be prepared to introduce technological innovations, restructure workflows, maintain compliance with complex regulations while always delivering affordable services.

They will be expected to improve efficiency and quality of care while also controlling costs. Medical and health services managers in large health care facilities have a few assistants to handle daily operations. In smaller facilities, managers must handle daily operations, such as admissions and personnel issues, while also helping with clinical areas like surgery, therapy and nursing.

Related Resource: Careers in Systems Development

As a final note, the job outlook for medical and health services managers is expected to grow faster than the average, with most opportunities being in hospitals and large health care organizations.