What Is an MBA in Healthcare Administration?

Students who pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration learn the skills needed to manage and oversee healthcare facilities. MBA programs focused on healthcare administration also cover basic business topics, such as marketing, finance, management and accounting.

What Separates an MBA in Healthcare Administration From an MBA?

While general MBA programs teach students to use business skills in the private business sector, healthcare administration MBAs teach students how to apply business skills to managing hospitals, physician groups, health clinics and other healthcare organizations.

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) offers an online MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Administration that prepares graduates for careers such as healthcare executive, hospital administrator, health services manager or one of many other rewarding and in-demand jobs. Besides the core business curriculum, the 100% online program offers three healthcare-related courses:

  • Risk Management: Healthcare businesses are exposed to risks unique to the healthcare industry. USI’s online course helps prepare students to identify and mitigate risks from the perspective of a healthcare organization. These financial liabilities potentially include third-party payer systems, medical malpractice, risks surrounding information systems and cybersecurity, patient safety and systemic risks associated with the U.S. healthcare market.
  • Data Driven Decision Making: Business analytics is a vital part of the decision-making process for hospitals, physician groups and clinics. Data-generated insights help healthcare businesses locate areas of inefficiency while improving patient services. Data analysis also helps healthcare administrators devise evidence-based solutions to the many challenges healthcare systems face.
  • Lean Six Sigma: The Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology focuses on statistical tools for improving medical service quality while lowering costs. USI’s online course provides a broad understanding of the concepts, language and methodologies associated with LSS principles, with the ultimate goal of facilitating continuous improvement in operational efficiency and organizational performance.

Skill-Development for Effective Healthcare Administration

Further knowledge and skills students can learn through an MBA program in healthcare administration include:

  • Healthcare planning: Similar to strategic planning, healthcare planning involves creating and setting objectives and goals for a medical business or organization.
  • Healthcare systems operations: Operational management within the healthcare industry deals with planning, organizing and executing healthcare organization processes and services. This can involve optimizing administrative functions, controlling costs associated with treatment, lowering financial risk, improving efficiency and increasing productivity.
  • Health economics: Health economics focuses on economic issues that impact healthcare systems and services. Knowledge of health economics informs policy, planning and operational management.
  • Ethical decision-making: When developing hospital policy and committing to decisions that impact patients, healthcare administrators must make sound, ethical decisions that abide by regulations and standards. Healthcare administrators and providers follow various codes of ethics and conduct outlined by business and healthcare industry groups like the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Health information systems: Health information systems (HIS) manage healthcare data. These systems are primarily responsible for collecting, storing, managing and transmitting patient electronic medical records. USI’s core MBA studies include the course Information Systems and Technology, which helps students understand the role of information systems in organizational operations.

Unlike medical professionals like doctors and nurses, healthcare administrators are not expected to have firsthand experience delivering medical care. Healthcare administrators do need to understand how medical businesses operate and the services they provide, but advanced business skills are what allow healthcare administrators to manage healthcare clinics and businesses effectively.

The U.S. healthcare sector accounted for 17.4% of the country’s gross domestic product in November 2022, according to Altarum’s monthly Health Sector Economic Indicators brief, although this figure has fluctuated significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employment of healthcare administrators — also called medical and health services managers — is projected to grow by 28% between 2021 and 2031, making this occupation one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you want to join the growing and rewarding healthcare administration career field, an online MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from USI will provide you with the skills and know-how to manage a healthcare business or physician group.

Learn more about USI’s online MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Administration program.

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