How do Health Administrators Cultivate A Fair and Inclusive System of Care?

Time Of Info By TOI Staff   March 9, 2023   Update on : March 9, 2023

Health Administrators Cultivate

The daily task list of a health administrator varies between facilities and depends to a large extent on their level of responsibility. In some hospitals or clinics, a health administrator oversees the entire operation, but elsewhere they only need to manage an individual department. They may deal with medical records, hospital administration, nurse information systems or admissions. Each day, they aim to support a more inclusive model of care by managing costs, assisting patients with making payments, and assessing working practices.

Constant research and the refinement of healthcare services

Health administrators plan for the delivery of medical care and carefully manage the services their employer provides. They will also be responsible for monitoring equipment and supply chain issues. They evaluate the efficiency of these, and then make changes to how services are delivered depending on their findings. Furthermore, they look closely at the technology their facility is using to ensure that it is appropriate and worthwhile. They also check regularly for changes to legislation and healthcare policies to ensure that their workplace remains compliant. 

People who are hoping to work in this dynamic profession can qualify for an Executive Master of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa. In its Telfer School of Management, students are taught how the modern medical system balances business with healthcare, and they can expect to graduate after just two years of study.

How has the Affordable Care Act affected healthcare administration?

When it was introduced in 2010, the Affordable Care Act had three key goals. Primarily, the government wanted to make “affordable health insurance available to more people”. They also planned to develop the Medicaid program and supported innovations that delivered more efficient healthcare. Along with the provisions relating to care, the Act encompassed services and treatments. 

Health administrators played and continue to play a key role in deploying this more equitable system. Specifically, they need to synchronize patients and their insurance provisions with the available healthcare. Moreover, they have to assist patients who are unsure of how to access care or insurance coverage, as well as keeping their facility within budget.

What methods do health administrators use to make healthcare more inclusive?

Health administrators can use a range of techniques to lower costs for their facility and their service users. They are involved with the allocation of funds, the creation of strategies that improve the patient experience, and ensuring that the team comply with the most efficient procedures.

Modifying patient billing

Health administrators can save money on billing and collecting payments by using predictive modeling. This process uses statistics to predict how the majority of people behave and can be extremely accurate. For instance, the majority of hospitals will target patients with low credit scores and spend more time and resources chasing them for payments. However, a low credit score does not always indicate a bad payer, and frequently these people would have paid their bills without being prompted. To make collections more effective, health administrators can use these predictions to engage only with the patients they need to.

Ensure that resources are allocated optimally

Whether a health administrator manages the budget of every department or every area of a single department, they are responsible for allocating funds. They are also involved in searching for new, more advanced and more economical equipment. Funding new technology and improving how resources are allocated in other ways can improve patient care and make it more affordable. 

They do this by having a clear understanding of what each department needs and where the most effective improvements could be made. For instance, maybe more staff are required in the emergency medicine department at certain times of the day, or perhaps the research laboratory needs a specific piece of equipment to enhance its projects. A health administrator would assess each case and decide whether funding the additional resources is viable, or whether another solution is needed.

Create a sense of inclusivity

Patient care is a priority for any medical facility, and it’s crucial to have aims that focus on this. Happy patients can also boost staff satisfaction and contribute to the facility’s overall success. The healthcare administration team rarely interact with patients as their role is office-based. However, they can coordinate event days that promote the facility. One way of doing this is to have a health event in the facility or a planning meeting. Both of these events would be aimed at attracting people from the local community to ask questions and find out more about accessing care. By demonstrating that they are inclusive on open days and providing educational resources, the hospital also shows that it is welcoming and that patient wellbeing is a key concern.

Nurture a diverse workplace

Diversity in the workplace is one of the main aims for healthcare administrators as it brings so many benefits. As well as driving innovation, it can attract some of the top medical professionals to work in the facility and enhance patient relations. A commitment to diversity in terms of race, gender identity and socioeconomic status means that more sections of the population are represented at the hospital. This improves patient comfort, encourages people to view the hospital as an inclusive place, and can help to resolve language barriers. 

On a small scale, there is more likelihood of a bilingual nurse or physician being able to communicate positively and interpret for a patient who speaks another language. On a larger scale, diversity in a team means that for every problem that arises or plan that needs to be worked through, there are multiple perspectives to be gained. From assessing which equipment needs replacing to planning a course of treatment for patients, diverse teams can open doors to new ideas and previously unconsidered solutions.

Elevate the problem-solving process

In large or small care settings, health administrators are often faced with conflicts and issues that need resolving. The aim is to solve these problems quickly and nurture a safe and positive workplace, both for patients and staff. Health administrators can take creative approaches to solving problems if a traditional option is not working, and then track the results. As well as shaking things up a bit, it also gives them a chance to monitor how their solutions have fared when put to the test. 

Furthermore, evaluating the way that problems are solved can help them ensure that future strategies are a success. If the solution has not worked as planned, they can try to find new processes when it comes to problem solving. This might involve using different assessment tools or garnering a wider range of opinions. Working like this supports excellent care in several ways. It can cut back on supply chain issues, fully address specific patient concerns, and manage staffing shortages.

Lower the cost of care for patients

By reducing the amount of money that patients have to pay for their care, health administrators make the treatments that their facility offers more accessible. This also represents a practical and positive method of delivering services that are patient-centered and prioritizing people who need care. In most hospitals, reducing costs starts with cutting the length of time that people stay in the hospital, offering affordable options, and lowering the price of medical assistance. 

By taking away some of the financial burdens that many people find themselves dealing with after leaving the hospital, it’s also possible to support their recovery. This is because people are more likely to come back for additional treatment if they need to, rather than worrying about sinking further into debt. Health administrators can help patients by letting them know more about possible sources of funding, developing relief programs from within the hospital, or investing in new technologies that offer non-invasive treatments.

Keep the healthcare office well organized

It may seem like a trivial matter in the grand scheme of things, especially if a health administrator has an entire hospital to consider, but a clean office space can boost efficiency. By being organized, employees in the administration department are more able to focus on their work, locate the information they need and complete their tasks quickly. 

Managing a complex system of patient data, financial documents and operational records is a challenge, but by ensuring that these resources remain in good shape, the team can perform their duties swiftly. Whether the office is entirely digital or there are still paper files to deal with, everything should be carefully documented and placed in its designated spot. Furthermore, habits such as labeling files, tracking tasks, good time management, and holding regular decluttering sessions will always be useful.

Ensure that the entire team know their responsibilities

Creating an atmosphere of inclusivity and promoting patient-centered care can be more difficult when employees are unsure of their responsibilities. If a patient asks for help, they should not be passed from person to person because some members of the team are unsure of the scope of their role. Instead, health administrators should try to nurture a workplace culture that involves everyone taking full responsibility. This includes making sure that patients are treated with kindness and respect, and confirming that their needs are met before they are discharged. Therefore, one of the key tasks for a health administrator is to ensure that everyone else knows what their key tasks are.

Create goals that motivate staff

When the hospital team are motivated, the care and the overall experience they provide to patients is better. This means that people feel comfortable in the hospital and are more likely to come back if they need follow-up treatment or help with a different problem. To keep staff engaged, health administrators can set goals for the team in a similar way to companies in other industries. An objective gives the team something to work toward together and alone. There are a huge number of targets to reach while training to work in the medical profession, so the hospital should have many goal-oriented individuals. Administrators can consider what needs to be achieved on each floor or unit, or in the hospital as a whole, whether it’s keeping the area tidy, creating a friendlier atmosphere, or taking part in professional development.

Always give praise and recognition for hard work

To encourage people to take part in the goals they have set, health administrators will establish a system of rewards. This is an additional way of motivating the team and fostering some friendly competition. From meal deliveries to a voucher for the local spa or an honorable mention on the notice board, employees appreciate recognition for a job well done. Moreover, when people see their colleagues being rewarded, they are more likely to work harder themselves. There are numerous ways to show appreciation, so if someone often gets good feedback from patients and their families, as well as other staff members, health administrators will celebrate them.

Take time to write up procedures clearly and concisely

Making all patients feel welcome is a core value when it comes to patient-centered care, and to get the entire team on board, clear procedures can help. Having everything written out briefly but with clarity means that these processes are simple to understand and remember. From speaking to approved family members in non-technical language to prioritizing a patient’s physical comfort and providing plenty of educational resources so that a patient understands more about their condition, there are many specific examples that can be detailed. Once this is done, the health administrator needs to confirm that all the staff understand what is being asked of them, as this helps to ensure that problems don’t arise further down the line. 

Health administrators have a demanding role, but one that is exciting and incredibly satisfying. Using their experience, professional knowledge and creativity, they manage a facility’s administrative, financial and clinical practices. Along with maintaining a thorough understanding of the regulations around healthcare and medical terminologies, they also care deeply for the people who use the hospital. They use their expertise to ensure that patients always get top-quality care, and also nurture inclusion and accessibility. 


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