In general, hospital healthcare managers juggle several responsibilities, including planning, directing, and coordinating other practitioners, departments, and groups.
They work in a variety of hospital settings, ranging from human resources to specialized clinical areas. They must collaborate across disciplines, manage an organization’s budget and finances, and lead talent development.
Healthcare managers handle business operations as well medical team needs. The scope of these responsibilities can change depending on a manager’s level, with levels including:
- Supervisors who oversee the day-to-day activities of teams of employees
- Department managers who oversee entire departments
- Directors who oversee systemwide activities and functions
- Executives who oversee an entire hospital or a group of hospitals
All hospital healthcare managers work with physicians, make policy decisions, oversee patient care and budgeting and accounting, and lead marketing efforts to ensure their organization functions smoothly.
Departmental Coordination & Innovation
Managers can improve healthcare delivery by operating hospitals that deliver reliable, adaptable services. They must understand and direct the following forces that impact innovation:
- Multiple Stakeholders: A manager's aim is to coordinate a variety of stakeholders and guide them to focus on a common goal. Employees such as doctors, insurance companies, technology distributors, patient advocates, etc., all have personal interests in hospital policy and operations.
- The Flow of Funding: Funding innovation is important, and managers direct the flow of funds from third-party investors, long-term investors, insurers, and other sources to the appropriate areas.
- Ever-Changing Policy: Policy impacting innovation is in constant flux with new federal regulations requiring rigid compliance. Managers must not only know about policy updates, but also communicate them to staff and implement them in the hospital.
- New Technology: Technology innovation requires managers to exercise solid timing, given that a hospital's infrastructure must adapt to new technologies. In addition, technologies must be adopted before any competitive advantage is lost.
- Empowered Patients: Patients invest financially and intellectually in their own healthcare; empowered by the knowledge they can glean from the internet pertaining to their own circumstances. Innovative managers make it a point to address the empowered patient's concerns, recognizing that savvy patients are not complacent to just take the doctor's word at face value if that conflicts with their existing knowledge.
- Accountability impacts innovation in that managers have to demonstrate effectiveness, safety, and other regulatory principles to accrediting organizations.
A healthcare manager may drive innovation in hospital processes and see tangible results in patient care. For example, low death rates among emergency patients might indicate managerial innovation.