What is health systems management?
To understand why solid systems management such an important part of a functioning healthcare system is, it is important to first understand exactly what it consists of.
Although doctors and nurses often serve as the face of medicine, they are not the only entities involved in healthcare. While they may be the ones working with the patients face to face, there are hundreds of additional work hours that must be completed, including paying bills, organizing information, and managing resources. All these tasks fall into what is considered systems management.
In short, working in health systems management involves coordinating all the behind-the-scenes systems to ensure that operations run as smoothly as possible.
Practically, this frequently takes the form of hiring people in the appropriate fields, such as computer science and billing managers and placing them in roles that will keep the technology running smoothly.
Before technology became easily accessible worldwide, all records needed to be manually created and organized by hand. Nowadays, with almost everything having become virtual, it is more important than ever to properly manage the systems that back healthcare professionals.
Ensuring that all the systems are properly organized keeps the patient’s information secure and private, while also easily accessible when needed for an update or to review the patient’s history.
Systems management in healthcare
Why is systems management in the healthcare field so important? The short answer is that it elevates the level of care that doctors and nurses can provide without creating an increased workload that is usually offloaded onto the nurses’ shoulders.
Every day while on the job, healthcare providers must handle incredibly sensitive information such as the patient’s detailed health history. After observing the patient, the provider must also ensure that the information has been properly updated and cataloged. If not completed correctly, the patient could suffer dire consequences.
Without a strong system in place to handle all the administrative work, the responsibility befalls the doctors and nurses, both of whom are already notoriously overworked.
A well-run systems management department can almost entirely prevent this from happening by keeping the administrative tasks away from the hands-on workers. This allows said workers to maintain their attention on the patients and not worry about the nitty-gritty of filing prescriptions and updating medical histories.
Health systems management careers
When deciding what to study, health systems management careers are sliding up toward the top of everyone’s lists. This growing field can be a fantastic way to help people acquire a unique set of skills to create a truly fulfilling career.
One of the best “hidden” roles in the healthcare system is that of the software engineer. When most people picture a software engineer, a medical office is not what typically comes to mind, and for a long time that was true. However, in recent years with more and more of the healthcare system becoming digitized, it is essential to have a software engineer on staff to troubleshoot and ensure all programs used for patient information are in working order.
When all the tech is running smoothly, it allows other workers to easily withdraw, edit, and resubmit information. This translates to quicker patient admittance and discharge, more accurate diagnoses by doctors, and a better overall experience for the patient.
Working as a software engineer or computer science professional can be a great way to slide into the healthcare field without studying for a healthcare-specific degree. For example, the online Masters in Computer Science at Baylor University offers a well-designed curriculum that equips students for a variety of computer science jobs in a broad range of fields, including healthcare. Future graduates are trained to be technologically proficient and innovative thinkers who can thrive in high-demand roles within the software engineering realm.
Public health managers
For a more hands-on job that puts workers in contact with the community, and the responsibility to directly make decisions that can have a truly meaningful impact on the local population, a public health manager might be the perfect option.
Working as a public health manager is different from many of the other careers in systems management. Most career options in the field will require sitting behind a computer all day, sending emails, and making calls. While this is great for some people, others want to be out in the field, interacting with the community, and seeing their actions come to fruition. This includes being able to directly interact with program directors and make first-hand observations about the state of the program.
With this information, a public health manager will decide how to allocate the available resources, making sure that each resource is making the biggest impact it possibly can.
Most of the time, when people think about healthcare, they are thinking about the treatments and the hands-on interactions between the doctors and the patients. However, like everyone else, doctors still have billing responsibilities, and with so many patients and staff members coming in and out, the financial reports can get complicated.
Hiring a billing manager is an easy way to ensure the medical office’s finances are appropriately cataloged, and bills are paid on time. After all, nobody wants the lights to go off while the doctor is examining a patient.
The days of paper records and hand-transcribing notes are nearing their end. Here to take over is the age of technology and, with it, the need for systems management in healthcare.
Systems management in healthcare is a general term that encompasses various roles, all of which help to keep the behind-the-scenes of a doctor’s office running without error. Without systems management, doctors and nurses would be overwhelmed and the whole system would fall into disarray.
Working in systems management allows entry into the healthcare field without ever having to study for a healthcare-specific degree. This allows people from all backgrounds and a varying range of professional skills to find themselves in their dream career path.