A strong healthcare sector is a prerequisite of any prosperous society.
Not only is healthcare a fundamental right for any citizen, but the health care industry is also crucial for the success of an economy.
In today’s uncertain pandemic struck era, an increasing number of countries have realized the significance and urgency of investing in this sector for the benefit of all.
The ultimate purpose of all officials, whether professionals or administrators, working in this sector should be the same: promoting wellbeing and improving quality of life.
Each official has opted for a given set of duties or paths to doing so.
By theory, health administrators manage and oversee the effectiveness of the health care systems.
They work close to healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses to ensure the patient receives the best possible care.
Being a healthcare administrator has more to it than just managing administrative tasks of the healthcare systems.
It involves the individuals taking on the role of a leader and facilitator regarding the community’s well being.
They are responsible for overseeing the operations and profit making tasks for the institute.
Therefore, the healthcare administration looks after several duties and activities, from operations management to finances, human resources, including legal responsibilities.
There is no denying that the onset of the pandemic has significantly shaken up the healthcare system. Not only has it placed immense pressure on medical professionals and staff to be highly efficient, but it has compelled the healthcare administrator to be more proactive.
A pandemic struck era can be challenging for inexperienced health professionals just stepping into the field.
It is here when degree programs such as an online Master of Health Administration will prepare healthcare professionals to broaden their skills and cope with high risk situations.
So how have the roles and duties of the healthcare administrators been modified? Here are a few of the significant changes experienced.
1. A Remote System.
To tackle the challenging situation presented by the pandemic, the majority of the businesses shifted to a virtual or hybrid (physical and virtual) system.
When it comes to the healthcare sector, the decision was a complex one.
With a rising fear of virus transmission, many patients avoided visiting the hospital and preferred to have an online appointment with their doctor.
According to a study by Siemens Healthineers, introducing remote work for healthcare individuals, except the front line workers, can bring benefits like improved productivity and reduced capacity constraints.
Thus the administration has to ease the transitioning of the workforce towards the work from home, WFH approach while maintaining the quality of healthcare services.
2. Strict Adherence to SOPs.
Although medical institutes worldwide have adopted a certain degree of remoteness, going virtual is not entirely possible for this sector.
When it comes to emergency cases and front line health workers, the hospitals and clinics must remain physically operational.
A critical concern that healthcare administration has to address is religiously following a strict set of SOPS, especially with hospitals and clinics being high risk places for transmission.
Despite already ensuring the cleanliness and safety of their patients and staff, healthcare administration has to make sure that they provide maximum hygienic settings.
For example, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guides healthcare facilities to follow SOP procedures at triage to sort the patients according to the type and urgency of treatments needed and set up separate waiting rooms for the coronavirus suspected patients.
3. Mitigating Financial Losses.
Studies estimated a revised 4.5% drop in global GDP due to the pandemic, with all significant sectors facing a revenue decline.
However, healthcare is one prominent industry that was perhaps hit the hardest.
According to the American Hospital Association report, hospitals and health institutes in the US experienced approximately $50.7 billion losses each month.
Health institutes are thus facing low revenues with a postponement or cancellation of non emergency procedures and surgeries.
In addition, there has been a rise in the expenses with the purchase of instruments and supplies such as personal protective equipment.
Therefore, healthcare administrators, especially nowadays, have to adopt methods and procedures that help reduce the ever rising expenses and boost the revenue stream.
4. Maintaining Adequate Capacity.
With the situation being highly uncertain, healthcare administrators need to ensure they are sufficiently equipped to handle any surge in patient volume.
In recent months a greater need for medical facilities such as ICU units, beds, and ventilators has been observed, with most hospitals having limited capacity to cater to critical patients.
The key is to manage the supply shortage when there is an unexpected rise in demand. The administration, thus, has to devise strategies in which the institute can increase or adapt its capacity to meet the varied needs presented by the pandemic.
5. Keeping up the Moral.
Medical administrators, as mentioned previously, are, in essence, leaders that provide a direction and set the tone for the institute.
Thus a core skill any leader has to possess is to keep the employees motivated and driven.
Likewise, the healthcare administration is responsible for making the staffing decisions and retaining and motivating medical professionals.
It is perhaps one of the prime challenges managers face, given the uncertainty and stress of operating during a pandemic.
It is especially true to avoid any staff shortages or decline in the quality of healthcare.
6. Promoting Mental Health.
Undoubtedly, the healthcare industry is a high risk and high stress sector that has been negatively impacted since the start of the pandemic.
From patients to professionals, emotional turmoil and symptoms of anxiety and depression are being faced by all.
Healthcare workers, including medical professionals, hospital staff, and administration who regularly deal with or observe the coronavirus patients have a higher chance of experiencing mental health problems.
A recent article suggests that more than half of the medical workers might go through mental issues like acute traumatic stress and insomnia directly resulting from the pandemic.
Therefore, healthcare administration needs to look after their mental health and all the individuals working at the institute.
Many hospitals have introduced online mental health programs for their employees and staff to work through the grief and anxiety they regularly face on their jobs.
What You Should Remember?
The healthcare sector has evolved over the years and has experienced many changes since the pandemic.
Consequently, the duties and responsibilities of the healthcare administration have gone through various modifications.
From managing and facilitating a remote healthcare system to increasing the capacity at the institute, a lot of the challenges are complex and require the administrators to be highly proactive in their approach.