The health of a community relies on many factors, like nutrition, physical activity, access to medical care, and the environment. But perhaps one often overlooked element of promoting community health is healthcare management. Healthcare managers play an important role in connecting communities with resources and services that help improve the overall well-being of individuals and their collective communities as a whole. From developing solutions for underserved populations to managing resource allocation and tracking outcomes, healthcare managers are integral in ensuring quality care within the system.
In this blog post, we explore how healthcare management strategies can be used to improve public health at both individual and broader levels.
Ensuring Access to Quality Healthcare Services
One of the main roles of healthcare management in promoting community health is ensuring access to quality healthcare services. It involves various activities, including healthcare resource allocation and utilization, coordination of healthcare services, and quality improvement initiatives. Healthcare managers must work to ensure that healthcare services are distributed equitably and that patients have access to the care they need when they need it. They also must work to coordinate healthcare services across different providers and settings to ensure that patients receive comprehensive and coordinated care.
In addition, healthcare managers are responsible for implementing quality improvement initiatives to ensure that healthcare services are provided efficiently and effectively and meet the community’s needs. By working to ensure access to quality healthcare services, healthcare managers can improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare disparities, and promote overall community health.
To become a health manager, one typically needs a master’s degree in healthcare management or an MBA with a focus in healthcare management. A degree in this field generally covers topics such as health policy and regulation, financial management, healthcare system organization and operations, quality improvement strategies, and community health promotion. MBA careers in healthcare management are particularly sought-after because they pay well and are rewarding.
Promoting Preventive Care and Chronic Disease Management
If we are to achieve better health outcomes, healthcare managers must focus on promoting preventive care and chronic disease management. This involves developing strategies that promote healthy behaviors, provide access to preventive care services, and encourage early detection of health problems. Healthcare managers must also work to ensure that chronic diseases are managed effectively by providing access to appropriate treatments, screenings, and lifestyle interventions.
Healthcare managers can reduce healthcare costs, improve health outcomes, and promote overall community health by focusing on preventive care and chronic disease management.
For instance, preventive care services such as vaccinations can help reduce infectious disease incidence. In contrast, chronic disease management interventions can help prevent complications, improve quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs.
Educating and Empowering Patients
Another key role of healthcare management in promoting community health is educating and empowering patients. Healthcare managers must ensure that patients have access to accurate and comprehensive health information and are empowered to take an active role in caring for their health. This involves developing patient education initiatives that promote health literacy and encourages patients to engage in healthy behaviors and preventive care.
By educating and empowering patients, healthcare managers can improve health outcomes, promote healthy behaviors, and reduce healthcare costs.
Additionally, by promoting patient engagement, healthcare managers can improve patient satisfaction and promote patient-centered care.
Focus on Equity
Healthcare managers must ensure that all community members have equitable access to quality healthcare services. This involves identifying and addressing healthcare disparities and taking steps to reduce barriers to care, such as financial, cultural, linguistic, or geographical obstacles.
Healthcare managers can also work to address the social determinants of health that contribute to health disparities in the community by advocating for access to housing, food security, and other basic needs. By focusing on equity, healthcare managers can ensure that all community members have access to quality healthcare services and can reduce healthcare disparities.
However, it is important to note that promoting equity and reducing healthcare disparities is a long-term effort that requires ongoing commitment from healthcare managers.
Implementing Healthcare Policies and Regulations
Healthcare managers must ensure that their organizations comply with healthcare laws and regulations and implement policies that improve healthcare delivery and promote community health. This requires staying up-to-date with healthcare policy changes and advocating for policies that improve healthcare access, quality, and affordability. Healthcare managers are also responsible for implementing policies that support population health, such as promoting healthy behaviors or preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
In addition, healthcare managers play a critical role in advocating for healthcare policy changes that promote community health. They may work with legislators, community organizations, and other stakeholders to advocate for policy changes that promote access to care, address health disparities, or support public health initiatives. By implementing and advocating for healthcare policies and regulations, healthcare managers can improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
Utilizing Healthcare Technology
Healthcare managers must stay up-to-date with the latest advances in healthcare technology and identify opportunities to implement new technologies in their organizations. This includes implementing electronic health records (EHRs) to improve patient care coordination, telemedicine, and virtual care to increase access to healthcare services, and data analytics to improve healthcare outcomes. Technology can also improve healthcare efficiency, reduce healthcare costs, and promote patient-centered care.
Healthcare managers must ensure that their organizations are implementing healthcare technologies to meet the needs of patients and the community while maintaining the privacy and security of patient health information. By utilizing healthcare technology, healthcare managers can improve access to care, promote healthcare efficiency, and ultimately improve community health.
As a result of healthcare management, the health outcomes of communities can be improved dramatically. Healthcare managers play an important role in developing policies and programs that prioritize community wellness. They also assist in implementation by providing guidance or creating resources that support healthy behaviors and practices. We have seen that investments in healthcare management generate dividends for the community, such as improved access to care, a better quality of care, lowered costs, and increased efficiency. When strategic planning is implemented, it allows communities to maximize their resources while improving health outcomes for all individuals living within them.