A health services administrator manages the various business aspects of a health care center. He or she evaluates the quality of services, maintains the overall efficiency of a center, and controls financial matters. A person in this position might work in a hospital, private doctor's office, nursing home, or residential treatment facility.
Administrators engage in quality assurance by assessing the performance of health care professionals within their facilities. They regularly meet with doctors and staff members to discuss performance-related issues and new policies. Frequently, administrators speak directly with patients to determine the quality of care they have received and address any concerns. Since so much time is spent dealing with personnel and patients, health services administrators must have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
In health care facilities, patient records must frequently be updated to ensure that the information they hold is entirely accurate. It is the duty of a health services administrator to effectively keep, organize, and update patient records. Therefore, administrators must have a keen eye for detail and the ability to organize both electronic and physical records.
A person in this position manages a facility's finances as well, which may include planning and maintaining a budget, determining rates for medical services, handling patient accounts, and negotiating with insurance companies. Accounting duties require administrators to spend a great deal of time on the computer logging payment records and creating financial spreadsheets. It is vital that administrators possess strong math and computer skills to ensure the successful management of a health care center's fiscal operations.
A career in health services administration can be demanding. One typically works long, varied hours, especially in hospitals and treatment facilities, which operate around the clock. In addition to scheduled hours, it is common for an administrator to assume an on-call status to deal with emergencies within his or her facility. A health services administrator must also be willing to attend seminars, meetings, and fundraising activities. Occasionally, these activities involve considerable travel and long hours.
Typically, a person pursuing a career as a health services administrator must obtain a master's degree in health care or business administration. Many major universities offer specialized, accredited degree programs, which may include a year-long internship in a health care center. Depending on the country or state of employment, the completion of a licensing examination or certification program may be required before one can secure a job in health services.