Health care management is the profession that offers leadership and direction to the organizations that provide personal health services as well as units, departments, divisions and services in those organizations. This implies that healthcare management is necessitated by the nature of organizations which requires managers and other heads to provide leadership, coordination and supervision of employees. This is done so that organizations can achieve their goals which are not possible to attain through a single individual. It also implies that the complexity and scope of the tasks carried out while providing services area high to the extent that staff cannot get the job done when operating on their own. Many specialized disciplines are required to be coordinated so as to achieve organizational goals. There is a need for managers to ensure that organizational tasks are done in the best manner while utilizing both human and natural resources in a sustainable manner. Healthcare management is, therefore, the profession that is concerned with all these processes.
Healthcare management is defined as indicated above because managers in healthcare are appointed to authority positions where they help shape the organization by making important decisions. These decisions include staff recruitment and development, technology acquisition, service reductions and additions and financial resource spending and allocation. These decisions ensure that patients receive effective, appropriate and timely services while addressing the achievements of performance targets as desired by the manager. Ultimately, healthcare management is crucial because decisions made by one manager have the potential of affecting the entire organization’s performance (Peer & Rakich, 2009). Managers have to consider two major domains when carrying out their tasks. These domains are internal and external domains. External domains comprise of the resources, activities and influences that are not found within the confines of the organization but affect it. These may include the population characteristics and community needs. The internal domain comprises of the focus areas that need to be addressed daily. These include ensuring appropriate and type of members of staff, quality of care and financial performance. Keeping a dual perspective of both internal and external domains is necessary for the management so as to make the right decisions.
The definition provided by researches is in agreement with that forwarded in this paper. For example, according to Buchanan, Parry & Gascoigne (2003), healthcare management is the process that comprises of social and technical activities and functions done in organizations for the purpose of meeting the predetermined objectives through resources. Another definition prevalent in scholastic researches is that healthcare management is the process through which managers in healthcare institutions work with and through other people in carrying out technical as well as interpersonal activities so as to achieve the organization’s desired objectives. This implies that healthcare management occurs through many people who are not necessarily in managerial positions. However, some of the managerial positions held in healthcare organizations include coordinator, director, supervisors etc (Buchanan, Parry & Gascoigne, 2003). While many definitions of the term healthcare management exist, there is a general consensus on the responsibilities vested in healthcare managers. These main roles include planning, organizing, staffing, controlling, directing and decision-making. In addition, there is a consensus on the key competencies required of healthcare managers. These include technical, conceptual and interpersonal skills etc (Buchanan, Parry & Gascoigne, 2003). Due to the complexity of the job, management positions in healthcare institutions are also not limited to the top level, they may also be found throughout different levels in the organization.
Buchanan, D. A., Parry, E., & Gascoigne, C. (2003). Are healthcare middle management jobs extreme jobs? Journal of health organization and management, 3(2), 22-60.
Peer, K. S., & Rakich, J. S. (2009). Ethical Decision Making In Healthcare Management. Hospital Topics, 77(4), 7-14.