What is Healthcare Management?
To understand what it takes to be capable and skilled in this position, we need to explore what is a healthcare or health services manager. (Some sources have health care as two words.)
A healthcare manager could be one of the members of an administration team. As mentioned above, they are also known as health services managers and medical services managers. There is typically a range of specializations and job titles within this field. For example, the health unit coordinator, clinical manager, and health information manager are all positions in healthcare administration, but each job focuses on a specific area.
Generally, the health care manager supervises the health services within a particular department or medical facility, such as a clinic. The duties include administrative tasks, namely overseeing the finances, hiring and training staff, scheduling work shifts, and meeting with board members. The clerical roles involve checking compliance with health laws, creating policies, maintaining facility records, and managing the payroll.
Health Care Management vs. Health Administration
There are subtle differences between the two terms. Students interested in the field of healthcare management will likely encounter degrees in administration. The main difference is that management looks at the ‘big picture’ in the healthcare setting. As outlined above, the manager has several responsibilities related to the function of the medical department or facility. The administrator concentrates on the staff. He/she studies the medical practice to determine if the staffing meets the demands of the patients and matters concerning budgeting for the appropriate number of medical personnel. There might be overlap in both positions in areas such as salary administration.
What about Math?
There will be math courses in most associate and bachelor’s programs. The management roles, as stated, include overseeing the department or clinic’s finances. Therefore, students should expect coursework in statistics, applied probability, finance skills, accounting, and algebra. These classes could be part of the General Requirements or the Core or Major Requirements.
The captioned query asks if you need to be good in math to be proficient in healthcare management. Because all degree levels incorporate math into the curriculum, the answer is – yes, you need to do well in math. Math encompasses algebra, economics, financial accounting, statistics, and more. How often you use math in the role of a medical services manager depends on the employer. However, to earn at least an associate degree, you must receive a passing grade in whatever math courses are part of the curriculum.
An example is the Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Management at eVersity, the 100% online format provided by the University of Arkansas System. Under the category of Accounting, students take Principles of Financial Accounting. You learn about an income statement, a balance sheet, equity statement, cash flow, and essential accounting entries. The title of the Mathematics course is Statistics, which involves the study of sampling distributions, variance analysis, hypothesis testing, numerical methods, and data dispersions. Students will likely flounder, who have a scant aptitude for math, during these two classes. Tutoring may offer some relief.
Perhaps an Arts program has less emphasis on math. The online Associate of Arts in Health Care Management at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, does have three credits each for Financial Accounting and Financial Issues. The latter covers budgeting, pricing, and economics. For those who prefer to avoid math, a program like this is an option. The school’s Bachelor of Arts program has the same two courses with the addition of Business Statistics.
Some community colleges have associate programs with only a slight focus on accounting or math. Minnesota West Community & Technical College offers an online Associate of Science in Management and Supervision in Healthcare. Its curriculum has three credits each of Finance and Accounting for non-Financial Managers and Finance for Healthcare. Both classes provide the essential concepts of accounting; therefore, an aptitude for math is not required. If these two courses are a challenge, the passing grade is only a 2.0 or “C.”
Individuals who struggle or have struggled with math in high school may want to choose an associate degree. The complexity of math, accounting, and finance escalate at the baccalaureate level. The Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management at Anderson University is one example. Its Core Requirements include six hours of accounting, three of statistics, six of economics, and three hours of finance.
The majority of bachelor programs will have several classes devoted to economics, finance, and accounting. Whether you start with an associate degree or begin at the next level, you will have math courses of some type. Due to the prevalence of the subject, you must graduate with a firm grasp of accounting and finance. These courses will afford more job opportunities and the chance for success in healthcare management.