Leadership positions in health facilities are typically reserved for dedicated professionals who understand how to navigate the business end of a health care organization. For busy professionals who wish to advance into a leadership position at a hospital or other health care institution, enrolling in a Master of Health Administration (MHA) program may be a great choice. But before getting started with MHA curriculum, it would be worthwhile to learn more about the skills and knowledge typically offered in these degree programs.
Common Skills Gained Through an MHA Curriculum
Like running any business, administering health care organizations requires a diverse blend of technical skills and competencies. MHA programs offer students the opportunity to develop and hone the following skills, which can be beneficial to a career in health care leadership:
Proficiency in Technology. Health care organizations often produce and manage massive volumes of data that administrators must use. To ensure that graduates are able to effectively navigate the databases and other health informatics platforms that their employers manage, an MHA curriculum will often include some form of information systems or health care technology class.
Organizational Leadership. Most health care administration jobs involve organizing interdisciplinary teams of professionals to achieve specific company goals. Therefore, MHA students often take coursework to help them improve their leadership skills. Since administrators may not always directly supervise other employees, an MHA curriculum also teaches less hands-on leadership methods, such as how to use strategic thinking to make long-term plans for the departments that are under their management.
Accounting and Finance Management. As business leaders, it is important that health care administrators have some understanding of their employers’ finances. Having a detailed grasp of accounting can help them understand how administrative costs are impacting their organization’s financial stability. Through classes on these subjects, MHA students learn how to step in when their organizations need help managing their finances.
Research and Analysis. When confronted with a business- or health-related issue, health care administrators must also know how to use data to overcome the challenge. For instance, if a hospital administrator notices a downturn in patient satisfaction in a particular department, he or she may need to analyze operations to make improvements. Health administration instructors show students how to collect and process data, thereby allowing them to generate calculated solutions to their problems.
Ethics. All health care professionals have a responsibility to perform their duties ethically — in other words, they must make workplace decisions with consideration for the industry’s moral standards. Otherwise, they could risk infringing upon a patient’s rights or invading a patient’s privacy and safety. An MHA curriculum usually requires a class dedicated to ethics, allowing students a chance to deepen their understanding of what it means to be ethical.
Classes That Are Commonly Featured in an MHA Curriculum
The MHA curriculum varies from one institution to the next; however, all MHA curricula will explore issues that are critical to health care organizations’ future viability. These are a few of the core classes that a Master of Health Administration program might offer:
Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations. This course should cover the fundamental leadership skills that health care administrators will need to coordinate operations in health-related organizations. This typically includes learning how to set objectives and adhere to health policies.
Health Care Quality Management. This course offers students the opportunity to learn more about tactics they can use to enhance the quality of services their organizations offer. This requires learning how to collect data about current performance and use that information to formulate more efficient practices.
Management Accounting in Health Care. Health care organizations typically manage a wide range of financial processes, such as those pertaining to insurance costs and revenue. This course should teach students how to organize financial records and perform other accounting tasks, granting them a more in-depth comprehension of how the financial aspects of health systems function.
Research Methods for Health Professions. Research is critical in most health administration professions. This course will teach students different research techniques that can be used to inform operational decisions.
Health Information Systems. This course teaches students how to use a diverse range of health information systems. They should learn what these systems are designed to do and how they can apply them in practice to optimize an organization’s performance.
The online Master of Health Administration program at Regis College strives to help students from all backgrounds thrive in health care leadership. Regis welcomes prospective students who have both health care and non-health care undergraduate degrees to apply to the MHA program. Learn more about Regis College’s online Master of Health Administration offerings here: Regis College MHA