Technology in Healthcare Management

Introduction

The following dissertation focuses on the issue of technology in healthcare management and career prospects in the area of technology. Technology is an imperative area in health management and its integration in the field of health has been an advantage. This essay will explore my career path plan, which is being a healthcare administrator. The essay will discuss my career path on how I plan to be a healthcare administrator, which is a challenging and a competitive position in the administration of health facilities. The discussion in the area of healthcare entails roles, which healthcare administrators perform and what enables them to perform such roles. The essay will also focus on the educational qualifications needed for one to be a health administrator. In addition, the essay will look into the short term and long-term outlook of health care administration locally and globally and the role that technology has played in health care administration.

Career path plan

My career ambition is to be a healthcare administrator. The competitiveness of healthcare administration, the skills and competencies required in health administration prove that it is not a career for novice but people with excellent capabilities in administration, health issues, policy formulation, personnel management, information management, as well as public relation. All these roles need a multi skilled individual and for a starter student, it would be challenging to gain the competencies and the relevant skills in school alone. Comprehensive training is required to make a person a competent healthcare administrator both in public and private hospitals. The healthcare facilities that are in need of administrators may be nursing homes, clinics, or major hospitals. I am planning first to volunteer as an assistant healthcare administrator in Electronic Health Records management.

Roles and Positions

Healthcare administration is a broad field, which plays a vital role in the provision of health services. The broadness and the preciseness in administration require the administrator to play various roles and if possible have the assistance of other individuals for effective and efficient performance. The first role played by healthcare administrators is coordinating various activities in the health facilities. Coordination involves bringing together the entire departments in the health facility and ensuring that they are functioning effectively (Richards, 2010).

Apart from coordination, healthcare administrators assess the needs and the services offered by the health facility as there are a number of activities that require knowledge and skills in administration (Tulenko, 2009). There is need to assess whether the services offered in the facility are in accordance with the government policies or they fall below the recommended standards. The assessment is a continuous exercise that identifies loopholes in the health facility. Failure to have proper assessment may result in closure of the health facility or the facility having low quality services. The healthcare administrator must therefore be conversant with the government policies on health services (Thomas, 2008).

The other role played out by the healthcare administrator is making recommendations on the provision of any new auxiliary service or any new development in the health care facility after conducting an assessment. The assessment may indicate that there is need to bring in new forms of technologies such as the Electronic Health Record systems or a need to increase the number of clinical officers within the facility. This requires capability and informed edge on healthcare issues. An incompetent healthcare administrator cannot make effective recommendations (Bond, 2006).

The other role played by the healthcare administrator is that of personnel management where the health care administrator manages the human resource entities in the healthcare facility. The human resource involves motivating the employees and catering for the employees’ welfare in the health care facility (Richards, 2010). This especially happens in smaller entities such as nursing homes where the number of staff is minimal and one administrator can handle the entity. The responsibility of human resource management involves maintaining payroll, staff evaluation, and assessment of their performance (Cambria, 2012).

The healthcare administrator has the task of financial management of the healthcare facility. The manager must therefore be competent in analyzing the financial position of the facility in matters such as strategic planning, auditing, and accounting. This is a critical role played by the administrator as the financial management determines the profitability of the entity (Power, 2010).

The healthcare administrator also manages the information systems in the health facility by ensuring that there is appropriate recording of patients’ data and that the information systems are secure from unauthorized persons (Sheilds, 2005). The data received from the information systems is crucial in assisting patients and analyzing their health records as well as ensuring that there is proper treatment of patients. The healthcare administrator must therefore be competent with information technologies especially those that are related to healthcare facilities. He or she must have technological knowhow on the appropriate Enterprise Resource Planning software used in the administration of healthcare facilities otherwise; the administrator will not perform the various tasks effectively (Sheilds, 2005).

The healthcare administrator must also have good leadership skills as most of the times the administrators are the leaders of the healthcare facilities. Their opinion and decisions concerning the healthcare facility affect every stakeholder in that facility whether they are patients or employees. The failure to institute proper management mechanisms is the major cause of poor performance for most healthcare facilities. The healthcare administrator therefore plays the role of a leader in the healthcare facility (Cambria, 2012).

Short Term and Long Term Career Outlook of a Healthcare Administrator

The scope of healthcare administration is bigger than what is usually thought about due to the myriads roles involved. The modern healthcare facilities require a person who understands the roles of healthcare management and is competent when it comes to performance of the roles. The demand for healthcare services is on the rise especially and healthcare services have become more business oriented than they were a decade earlier, which explains why the field of medical practice is one of the best paying fields in terms of remuneration. The increased demand for health services is also coming with increased customer expectations in terms of quality offered by medical facilities. The increase in the number of people who have health insurance in the recent days has also increased the number of services and expectations in the field of healthcare management. The healthcare administrators must therefore have more competency and effectiveness to handle the increased expectations (Power, 2010).

In the advent of globalization and the integration of communication technologies, the modern healthcare administrators must have more competencies in the area of healthcare management that is recent and demanding. The traditional methods of data entry are no longer applicable and the dynamism of patients in the sense that they require the health services even when they are in far countries requires health administration to formulate ways of dealing with these demands (Richards, 2010). The new technologies in healthcare administration and provision of health services have resulted to the introduction of different modern equipment to cater for the needs of the patients. Most of the wards have micro cameras used to monitor the patients in their wards. Other than that, the need to store patient’s records more safely demands for well-integrated data storage services. The need for the various health facilities to transfer patient’s information when the patient has relocated to a new place calls for the integration of the information systems with the internet. The future health administrators must be competent in the usage of information technologies to assess the hospital or nursing home facilities (Turban, 2008). The various roles played by the health administrator can be simplified if the health administrator is competent in the use of the enterprise Resource Systems that combine various roles such as accounting systems payroll management systems, Electronic Health Records, communication systems and other capabilities. The Ability of the healthcare administrators to incorporate and implement Enterprise Resource planning systems in their health facility will be a great asset for the future healthcare administrator (Sheilds, 2005).

As a starter in the field of healthcare administration, I will start by assisting the current healthcare administrator in the area of health information systems management. As an intern, I will assist the health administrator in the issue of data entry pertaining the client’s health. Data entry is usually involved and tiresome but it is a critical activity in healthcare facilities as it ensures proper follow up of the patients and maintenance of their clear health records. Instituting a proper Electronic Health Recording system in the health facility will be my major responsibility (Tulenko, 2009).

As a health care assistant in charge of the health information system, I will introduce e-prescribing system in the health facility by ensuring interface where outpatients can ask for prescriptions from their doctors online from where they are. This interface will bring together the doctors and the patients through use of e-conference services using Skype to enable the doctors to communicate with their patients more effectively. The e-prescribing services will also assist the doctors to get proper dosage prescriptions from the internet. This will play a huge role in reducing cases of dosage errors associated with health services where the doctors give a wrong dosage prescription to the patient. It will also enable the doctors in the facility to network with other doctors throughout the world.

The other responsibility for me as a healthcare information systems manager will involve assisting the health administrator to implement the Enterprise Resource Planning systems in the health facility. The Enterprise Resource systems are critical, as they will give the facility an added advantage in offering quality services. However, the implementation of health ERP is a daunting task, and it requires competency and involvement of all the stakeholders to make the software effective (Weare, 2007).

As a healthcare administrator in charge of information systems security will be part of my responsibility. These responsibilities involve guaranteeing patients’ privacy especially on their medical records. This will ensure that the patient’s medical records are inaccessible for unauthorized persons (Cambria, 2012). Due to the flexibility and transient nature of the modern patients, maintaining the security of their records and at the same time ensuring that the records are accessible to the patients online is the major task. This will involve introduction of human biometrics security either using thumb scanners or iris scanners to ensure that the medical records are secure and to guarantee the accessibility of medical records to the clients. The other important aspect of the healthcare administrator is in ensuring that the data recording process is simplified and it is not time consuming, as the traditional methods of data recording were (Witmer, 2006).

Educational Requirements

To be a healthcare administrator the following educational qualifications are relevant. The individual must have at least a bachelor’s degree for the entry level and a master’s degree for the managerial level in health administration or business administration. The need to manage the healthcare facilities like any other profit making enterprise calls for an individual with an accounting background. The other requirement for a health administrator is that of competency in health information systems (Tulenko, 2009). This is imperative as it ensures that the health administrator is capable of formulating information system strategies and implementing appropriate ERP software for health facilities. Although it is not necessary, the healthcare administrator must have competence in a given medical field either as a clinical officer or as a doctor to have a deeper understanding of the policies in the medical field and the various equipment and facilities required in a medical set up. The health care administrator must know procurement matters, as the administrator is involved in the procurement of the equipment required in the medical facility. The other qualification that the healthcare administrator must have is that of budgeting and hospital organization management. These qualifications are relevant for the healthcare administrator. For the healthcare administration assistant in charge of the healthcare information management, a bachelor’s degree in information technology is imperative (Tulenko, 2009).

Analysis of the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry usually operates as a monopolistic competition due to the special nature of the service. Healthcare is a rare service and required all over the world. This makes the health service providers operate like monopolies. However, the various specialties in the medical field have made healthcare provision competitive in the sense that the various medical practices compete among themselves in matters of pricing and provision of quality services. In many countries, provision of health services is solely in the hands of the government. However, with the introduction of privatization and liberal markets, private medical practices have flourished making the medical services provision quite competitive (Cambria, 2012).

The healthcare industry is also a major industry in the United Kingdom with London having more than one thousand medical centers. The robustness of these medical services is due to the liberalization as well as increased demand for special attention to patients making healthcare services to be in high demand (Bond, 2006). The emergence of luxury healthcare in terms of plastic surgery, skin surgery, and organ transplant have seen many qualified medical practitioners moving away from traditional medical practice. Provision of healthcare has expanded into provision of services to cater for the ageing population, which is quite high. This calls for health administrators to look for ways of having services for the ageing people (Bond, 2006).

On the political side, the healthcare industry is one of the greatest consumers of the public funds through the provision of health facility in government hospitals. The government hospitals remain the greatest competitors with the private medical facilities. The fact that most of the government facilities have good equipment and technologies intensifies competition (Cambria, 2012). Government regulations on medical practices are a major factor in the field of healthcare and healthcare administrators must be conversant with government policies on healthcare issues. In past patients did not have confidence to question on the services offered by the doctors. However, in the modern times, patients are demanding accountability on the side of doctors and they are suing them for negligence if they feel that the doctor’s prescription and treatment was inappropriate. This has made the practice to be more demanding than it was a decade ago (Bond, 2006).

The other factor that affects the healthcare administration regards the health insurance. This has become a major source of revenue for healthcare providers as insurance companies provide finances for many patients who otherwise could not afford healthcare services (Richards, 2010).

Due to the need for the insurance funds, the healthcare industry has become competitive with the healthcare facilities looking for clients who will subscribe to their healthcare facility so that they may receive the insurance funds. This has seen the healthcare facilities introducing marketing departments to market and publicize the services offered by the facility. The healthcare administrators have workload of activities to ensure that the facility is up to the standard and it retains the loyalty of the customer. Customer loyalty is imperative in ensuring that the facility is making profits (Power, 2010).

In the era of globalization, provision of healthcare services has gone beyond traditional boundaries such that the healthcare facility can provide its services to patients all over the world through e-prescription services. Globalization also enables the healthcare facility to open up branches in other countries. This will help in increasing revenues. For an administrator, it is imperative to strategize on how to have a global presence. The Enterprise Resource Planning Systems must cater for the branches available all over the world. The technologies will make it easier for the healthcare administrator to monitor the operations of the various branches in different countries. This will help in improving customer loyalty as the patients can access the healthcare services through the branches in other countries.

Technology has changed the scope of health administration and has made it possible for the health facilities to market themselves. Previously it was expensive and unethical when using the traditional means of advertising (Power, 2010). However, the availability of websites and target marketing using data generated from Google makes it easy to market the healthcare facilities (Cambria, 2012).

Conclusion

The healthcare administration career is very promising and its rewards are high. However, myriad skills and competencies are required to be a healthcare administrator. In addition, patience is required to obtain all the competencies required in healthcare administration. Competence in technology, having leadership skills and the ability to manage and monitor medical personnel is imperative for anyone aspiring to be a healthcare administrator. However, with time and with the increased opportunities of learning through part time studies it is possible to be a competent healthcare administrator within a short period. I shall start as an intern in the health facility managing the information systems and apply for the job after the internship is over.

References

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Cambria, E. (2012). Sentic proms: Application of sentic computing to the development of a novel unified framework for measuring health-care quality. Expert systems with applications. New York: Elsevier.

Power, A. (2010). Transforming the nation’s health: next steps in health promotion. American Journal of Public Health 100 (12), 2343–6.

Richards, K. (2010). Self-care and well-being in health professionals: The mediating effects of self-awareness and mindfulness. Journal of Mental Health Counseling 32 (3), 247.

Sheilds, G. (2005). E-business and erp: Rapid implementation and project planning. Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.

Thomas H. (2008). Putting the enterprise into the enterprise system. Harvard Business Review, July–August 2008.

Tulenko, J. (2009). Framework and measurement issues for monitoring entry into the health workforce. Handbook on monitoring and evaluation of human resources for health. Geneva: world health organization.

Turban, D. (2008). Information technology for management, transforming organizations in the digital economy. Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons.

Weare, K. (2007). Promoting mental, emotional and social health: A whole school approach. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Witmer, J. (2006). A holistic model for wellness and prevention over the lifespan. Journal of Counseling and Development, 140–148.