C8Health Logo

What Is Healthcare Management: Roles and Challenges

Patient care and operational efficiency are at the heart of running a smooth healthcare operation.

Mical DuBrow profile
By Mical DeBrow
Lulu Mulambya editor profile photo
Edited by Lulu Mulambya
a blue background with two white circles
Fact-check by C8 Staff

Updated March 19, 2024.

What is healthcare management? Roles and challenges

Healthcare executives play a substantial role in the quality of patient care and ensuring efficient operations. That's why it's key for anyone working in the healthcare industry to understand the intricacies of healthcare management, its core responsibilities, challenges, and the impact of technology on the field.

Below, we'll take a holistic look at management in healthcare, from the responsibilities and challenges to the available resources to simplify the process.

» See how C8 Health can make life easier for your medical team.

Meet the expert

Mical DeBrow is an accomplished healthcare leader and clinician with extensive expertise spanning pharma, healthcare payers and providers, and healthcare information technology.

What is Healthcare Management?

Healthcare management is how healthcare organizations plan, run, and improve the care they provide to patients. Healthcare managers make sure that patients get the best care possible, while also keeping costs down.

This function also oversees all aspects of healthcare delivery, from staffing and scheduling to financial planning, and quality improvement.

Effective healthcare management can address the healthcare industry's challenges by developing and implementing strategies to attract and retain staff, improve working conditions, reduce burnout, and manage risk.

Core Responsibilities of Healthcare Managers

Healthcare managers are often behind the clinical scenes, overseeing the administrative side of healthcare. They work alongside clinicians to optimize operations ad their responsibilities may include:

  1. Quality patient care: Overseeing all aspects of patient care, from diagnosis to treatment, to ensure that patients receive the highest quality care possible.
  2. Financial stewardship: Managing the financial resources of healthcare organizations to ensure sustainability. This involves planning budgets, deciding where resources go, and planning for the future. We need to invest in things that really make a difference to patients.
  3. Staff management: Recruiting, retaining, and motivating healthcare professionals to ensure the organization has the staff it needs to deliver quality care.
  4. Technology integration: Integrating technology solutions to support healthcare professionals in delivering optimal care. This includes electronic health records and other healthcare technologies that streamline processes and improve efficiency.

Key Roles of Healthcare Managers

Healthcare managers are increasingly involved in roles that impact the overall success of healthcare organizations, such as:

  1. Staff motivation and retention: It's key to keep the workforce engaged and satisfied to maintain a high standard of care.
  2. Recruitment: Attracting top talent to the healthcare organization is essential. Healthcare managers must identify professionals with the skills and dedication required to provide excellent patient care.
  3. Tool provision: Healthcare managers provide healthcare professionals with the tools and resources they need to deliver optimal care. This includes access to the latest technologies, as well as simplified documentation processes.
  4. Collaboration facilitation: Collaboration among healthcare professionals is vital for achieving better patient outcomes. Healthcare managers must foster an environment where interdisciplinary teamwork is encouraged and supported.

Prominent Challenges in Healthcare Management

Healthcare management is not without its share of challenges, such as:

  1. Financial sustainability: Healthcare organizations often struggle with budget constraints and the need for financial sustainability. Government funding may fall short, impacting the ability to deliver quality care and invest in necessary resources.
  2. Staffing shortages: One of the most critical challenges is the shortage of healthcare professionals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 100,000 registered nurses 
    left the profession
    , and the trend is expected to continue. A lack of adequate staff can hinder the promise of quality care.
  3. Technology integration: While technology offers valuable solutions, it often lacks input from healthcare professionals who provide patient care. This disconnect can lead to challenges in the effective integration of technology.

Understanding Healthcare Management: Policies and Technology

The healthcare industry is no stranger to change, and recent shifts in healthcare policies have brought about significant transformations. These changes go beyond the mere completion of tasks; they now place a stronger emphasis on assessing whether actions truly benefit patients. The regulatory landscape has become more complex, with a focus on patient-centric outcomes.

Technology has also played a pivotal role in reshaping the healthcare scene. The introduction of electronic health records and other biomedical equipment has significantly impacted healthcare. However, the key to success lies in their correct implementation and the inclusion of input from healthcare professionals.

These tools, when used in alignment with the needs and expertise of those in the field, have the potential to improve patient outcomes. Additionally, innovations such as bedside patient monitoring and testing have propelled healthcare forward, offering more precise and efficient care.

As healthcare managers, understanding and adapting to these shifts in policies and the integration of technology is essential for ensuring that healthcare organizations thrive in this ever-changing environment. By addressing these aspects, healthcare managers can contribute to better patient care, operational efficiency, and overall success.

Healthcare management is changing fast, with trends like artificial intelligence and machine learning set to make a big impact. But remember, these are tools to help healthcare professionals, not replace them.

Success in healthcare management means putting patients first. If you're aiming for a career in this field, try to understand things from the patient's point of view and cultivate empathy. Real-world experience in patient care can give you insights you won't get from books or theories.

Starting from the ground up and really understanding patient care is key. By keeping up with industry changes and education and gaining hands-on experience, you'll be ready to take on the challenges of this ever-evolving field. C8 Health's centralized knowledge management platform offers an easily navigable array of resources that are on hand and reliably updated.

Anesthesiologist Max Feinstein M.D. uses C8 Health for quick and easy access to medical guidance.

Exploring the Future of Healthcare Management

Effective healthcare management is key to providing quality patient care and maintaining operational efficiency. This article has highlighted the crucial role of healthcare managers in tackling staffing issues, incorporating technology, and promoting teamwork among healthcare professionals.

It's vital to keep patients at the forefront of your work, demonstrating empathy and a dedication to improving patient outcomes. If you're thinking about a career in healthcare management, consider exploring C8 Health. This platform has a vast library of resources to help you gain valuable and up-to-date knowledge in an ever-changing industry.