The Changing Role of Healthcare Administrators During and After COVID

The Changing Role of Healthcare Administrators During and After COVID

Hospital hallway
Hospital hallway

Healthcare administrator jobs have always been essential in the success of a healthcare facility’s business plan, employee management and operational efficiency. 

Educated and trained individuals working in healthcare administrator jobs and hospital administration prove to be especially vital as the United States — and the world at large — continue to fight to contain and eradicate the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 16 percent from present-day through 2030 and approximately 2.6 million new jobs will emerge. Additionally, BLS found that healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups, due to an aging population and unprecedented demand for healthcare services.

Although healthcare jobs are in high demand, they have also been fundamentally changed by the global pandemic. Healthcare administrator jobs had to change to cope with the impact COVID-19 has had on hospitals, clinics, dental offices, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.

In this post, you can discover how healthcare administrator jobs evolved during the pandemic, the future trends experts are forecasting in healthcare, and how you can make an impact in the industry.

Two healthcare administrators in masks

How Has the Global Pandemic Impacted Hospital Administration?

The global pandemic will have a long-term impact on the healthcare system and hospital administration will continue to adapt in an attempt to ease COVID-19-related financial debt, sustain and improve the quality of healthcare, introduce telehealth technology and remedy staff shortages.

 

Dr. Enrique Barreiro

Dr. Enrique Barreiro
Central Christian College of Kansas

“During this time, the short-term goal is flexibility, adaptation and relocation of resources to continue to provide safe services,” Dr. Enrique Barreiro, Chair of the Master Strategic Leadership Program at Central Christian College of Kansas, said. “The long-term planning includes the slow re-integration of scheduling to address those patients that need to be rescheduled for services.”

COVID-19 impacted hospital administration in a multitude of ways, but professionals in healthcare management jobs see changes in the following four areas as the industry continues to address the effects of the pandemic.

Female health administrator in mask at a laptop

Financial Implications

Hospital administration jobs entail the management of all financial operations. COVID-19 altered healthcare facility costs and forced hospital administration to reevaluate business plan financials. 

An official open data source of the United State’s federal spending information demonstrates that the government directed COVID-19 funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other supplemental legislation. In 2021, as the pandemic continued to swell, additional funds were allocated via the American Rescue Plan Act.

The report summarized the total U.S. COVID-19 relief spending through 2022 as follows: 

  • $3.6 trillion to total outlays (actual payments made by agencies)
  • $4.2 trillion to total obligations (all obligations made by agencies)
  • $4.6 trillion to total budgetary resources (all congressional appropriations and other available budgetary resources)

The American Hospital Association (AHA) also reported that “the persistent financial pressure on hospitals and health systems could threaten patient access to care.” AHA’s analysis determined that total hospital revenue in 2021 is down between $53 billion and $122 billion from pre-pandemic levels.

Professionals in healthcare administrator jobs are using their training and education to establish business plans that will offset costs and mitigate debt during the pandemic and thereafter.

Doctor in scrubs tying on mask

Quality of Healthcare

People in healthcare management jobs work to ensure the quality of healthcare that patients receive continues to be satisfactory during the pandemic.

At the height of the pandemic, healthcare management jobs and hospital administration implemented the following tactics to enhance quality of care:

  • Use telehealth technology to support healthcare professionals and patients
  • Follow a framework for providing non-COVID-19 clinical care during the pandemic
  • Use a spreadsheet called the COVID-19 Surge chart to estimate when a surge of cases will be present
  • Follow a comprehensive hospital preparedness checklist
  • Maintain appropriate staffing
  • Prepare the clinic, hospital and healthcare facility ahead of time

Check out CCCK's Online Healthcare Administration Degree

Healthcare Technology

Telehealth technology greatly helped support healthcare providers and their patients amid the pandemic. Telehealth is “the provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology” such as video conferencing, telephone communications, text messaging and other modes of remote communication.

The pandemic impacted hospital administration by creating a surge in the prevalence of telehealth use and required providers to shift rapidly to digital-first models. In 2022, providers continue to use virtual healthcare to support healthcare delivery.   

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), telehealth accounted for less than 1% of healthcare volume prior to the pandemic and in the wake of COVID-19, approximately 50% of physicians used telehealth for the first time.  

AMA’s research shows that physicians support the implementation of virtual healthcare and see the following benefits:

  • 85% indicated that telehealth increased the timeliness of care.
  • 75% said telehealth allowed them to deliver high-quality care.
  • More than 70% were motivated to increase telehealth use.

The use of telehealth allows patients to continue to access mental health support, allows patients to manage chronic illnesses without frequent in-person appointments, provides non-emergency care to people in rural areas and more.

Healthcare Provider Shortage

The global pandemic has also put pressure on the human resources sector to increase the hiring of physicians and leaders occupying healthcare administrator jobs.

Prior to the global pandemic, America was experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers, such as nurses and physicians. In January 2022, Rick Pollack, the President and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA) released a statement titled, “Hospital Workforce Shortage Crisis Demands Immediate Action” and outlined the significant shortage of trained workers and its inevitable impact on the healthcare system.

COVID-19 and its ripple effects continue to pressure hospital staff and the healthcare system that desperately needs educated and trained individuals working in healthcare. Healthcare management jobs are essential as these professionals organize healthcare facilities and manage staff to increase organizational efficiency. 

“At Central Christian College of Kansas, we believe the pandemic has opened the door to new opportunities into which healthcare workers can venture... The main objective is to adapt and be flexible in the ever-changing healthcare industry.” -  Dr. Enrique Barreiro, Chair of the Master Strategic Leadership Program, Central Christian College of Kansas

Male health administrator confers with female doctor

What Do Healthcare Administrator Jobs Usually Entail?

Healthcare administrator job responsibilities largely depend on the type of facility, however, these professionals are typically the upper management staff that lead and direct healthcare professionals at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other healthcare facilities. 

According to Payscale, day-to-day healthcare administrator jobs include the following: 

  • Lead clinical and business professionals to improve the healthcare facility’s quality of care while simultaneously growing from a business standpoint 
  • Manage human resources responsibilities, including hiring, staffing, training and performance reviews 
  • Spearhead marketing tactics by tracking the growth of the healthcare business and pinpointing revenue opportunities
  • Responsible for all financial operations, including daily, quarterly and annual reporting

Health administrator going over data on desktop computer

What Do Healthcare Administrator Jobs Entail During COVID-19?

The global pandemic altered the healthcare administrator's role. The pandemic required healthcare management jobs and hospital administration jobs to make fast changes to protect their facility and staff while simultaneously helping as many patients as possible in the fight against COVID-19.

Prioritizing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) 

During the onset of COVID-19, there was a sudden demand for healthcare management jobs and hospital administration to source personal protection equipment (PPE) for their staff. The demand for PPE resulted in shortages across many facilities, and healthcare administrator jobs implemented strategies to optimize the use of PPE.

Female doctor scrubbing up

How Healthcare Facilities Optimized Occupational Health and Worker Safety

Improving the occupational health and safety of workers requires a multi-tiered approach that must address physical safety, mental health and additional support to protect HCP workers. 

Throughout the pandemic, individuals in healthcare administrator jobs are continuing to keep their staff safe in the following four ways: 

  1. Healthcare administrators continue to ensure HCP staff are well-trained in the proper use of their PPE to encourage the extended use of resources, such as N95 respirators. 
  2. Healthcare management and hospital administration staff developed self-monitoring protocols that encourage HCP to continue to stay home when they feel sick and have access to COVID-19 testing.
  3. People in healthcare management jobs assign dedicated HCP to work with patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 and work to uphold the highest standards of infection prevention for these staff members. 

Healthcare administrators are providing additional holistic support for HCP. The global pandemic placed increasing demands on HCP and could lead to burnout in essential workers. According to a survey conducted in 2022, 80% of healthcare workers are satisfied with their careers but more than half report feeling completely burnt out. Healthcare administrators can support their teams by providing access to mental health resources, parenting support, meals and non-punitive sick policies that could mitigate stress and help prevent burnout.Doctor reviewing chart

How Healthcare Facilities Strengthened Facility Response Mechanisms

COVID-19 redefined the way healthcare facilities execute internal processes. It’s up to healthcare administrators to strengthen their facility’s ability to respond to COVID-19 by circulating education about COVID-19 and the crisis standards of care.

The CDC and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response External icon (ASPR) developed four operational management pillars people working in healthcare management jobs and hospital administration can use to inform decision making around COVID-19, including:

  • Pandemic planning scenarios: The models use data provided in the Planning Scenario tables and can help healthcare administrators evaluate the potential impact of different community mitigation strategies (e.g., social distancing).
  • Surge mitigation: The CDC built a surge mitigation tool with strategies and guidance for managing healthcare resources during a surge in demand for services during COVID-19.
  • Electronic case reporting: The CDC made electronic case reporting mandatory, this is the automated generation and communication of case reports from the electronic health record (EHR) to public health agencies.
  • Training for healthcare professionals: Healthcare providers can now access practical training on vaccination, infection control, self-care, and other COVID-19-related topics through the CDC’s TRAIN platform.

Developing a Communication Plan for HCP

One of the main responsibilities that healthcare administrator jobs entail is to effectively communicate plans to HCP and lead collaboration to increase efficiencies. 

During the pandemic, communication plans are key to success. Professionals in healthcare management jobs and hospital administration should host virtual town halls to transmit the latest information, encourage daily chats with leaders in the facility and deploy frequent media briefs that summarize facility updates.

During the pandemic, healthcare administrators explain how facility response plans, PPE training and occupational safety procedures were created and why they’re important. Upper management also remains diligent when providing updates to daily procedures or changes in guidelines.

Doctor and health administrator reviewing data on laptops

Reporting Data: Testing Data, Capacity and Utilization Data

“Our implementation of Electronic case reporting (eCR) improved the quality and timeliness of public health reporting for COVID-19 across the 19 states we serve. This national gateway was a cost-effective solution that helped close critical data gaps in wide-scale reporting that saved front line providers valuable time and money.” – Paul Matthews, Chief Technology Officer, OCHIN, Portland, Oregon, CDC

Starting on January 1, 2022, all eCR was required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Promoting Interoperability Programexternal icon for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals.

Hospital administration became responsible for reporting data, such as the hospital inpatient capacity, the total number of ventilators available, all COVID-19 testing results and more.

As a result, healthcare administrator jobs during COVID-19 include the collection, analysis and reporting of this data to the Federal Government.

Individuals in healthcare administrator positions are working hard to continue to disseminate up-to-date information that will lead to transparency around the presence of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Using Telehealth Strategies

Healthcare professionals are continuing to use telehealth to offset the stressors of the global pandemic on the healthcare system and provide remote care for their patients’ other healthcare needs. 

Telehealth has helped professionals in healthcare management jobs improve the efficiency of services by offering a fraction of healthcare appointments remotely. This means that individuals that require follow-up appointments for chronic illnesses, mental health counseling, general symptom-related questions and other concerns can seek assistance conveniently and remotely. 

Healthcare administrator jobs require management to research and implement telehealth services and then onboard and oversee these services in the facility.

Following Healthcare Guidelines 

Healthcare facilities have always operated under a list of guidelines outlined by the CDC, the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, Infectious Disease Society of America and other government entities.

The ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19 have required that people working in healthcare management jobs frequently review and train their HCP staff to abide by these guidelines.

The guidance provided by these organizations reflects evidence-based protocols that optimize the safety and well-being of staff and patients.

Health administrator editing video of doctor in lab coat

Learn more about CCCK's Online Healthcare Administration Degree

What Will Healthcare Administrator Jobs Look Like After the Pandemic? 

The global pandemic brought new challenges to the healthcare system, but it also exposed existing issues. According to The Commonwealth Fund, prior to the pandemic, the United States had the most expensive healthcare system in the world. Despite high spending, the survey determined that in measures of quality, efficiency, access to care, equity, and the ability to lead long, healthy, and productive lives, the U.S. ranked last compared to six similar industrialized countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom).

The added pressures of a global pandemic forced officials to reevaluate current processes and make immediate changes. As a result, healthcare reform could be on the horizon. According to various experts and recent reports, healthcare workers should pay attention to the following changes that could prove to be long-lasting in the health sector.

Amended Facility Management

The management of healthcare facilities is expected to change as America moves beyond COVID-19 into a post-pandemic landscape. 

According to the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), “The COVID-19 crisis halted daily health care facility projects and operations, and forced facilities management professionals to focus on emergency management and patient surge planning.”

As the pandemic wanes, facility managers must pick up the pieces and restart important projects and operations that fell behind during the public health crisis.   

Healthcare facilities will likely change their system of governance to prioritize telehealth, preplanned crisis management strategies and the use of agile processes to fast decisions and streamline operational processes during times of crisis.

Professionals in healthcare administrator jobs will be on the frontlines when it comes to carrying out new forms of management and communicating changes to their team.

New Protocols for Employee Safety

COVID-19 has taught people working in healthcare administrator jobs the importance of employee safety. Proper access to PPE, PPE-use training and other physical considerations are important but COVID-19 has also shined a light on the importance of taking care of the mental health of HCP.

Stress, anxiety, depression and burnout in HCP’s during COVID-19 fall under the category of mental health in the workplace. Healthcare administrator jobs must manage the well-being of healthcare facilities and the people they employ, meaning employee mental health should be a priority. 

The CDC has released documents such as Support for Public Health Workers and Health Professionals, a document that instructs people in healthcare administrator jobs on how to train employees to deal with stress, burnout and other strong emotions. Hospital administration should continue to implement practices such as emotional regulation training to reduce stress levels for staff and promote mental wellness during and after the pandemic.

Increase in Telehealth Technology

Telehealth is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but it’s also evolving and improving to better support healthcare providers and patients. Soon healthcare administrator jobs will involve more interaction with the implementation of novel healthcare technologies and platforms.

According to the AMA, healthcare is moving beyond telehealth into a digitally-enabled future. Meg Barron, the AMA's vice president of digital health innovations discusses the possible future of virtual care. “We know that both patients and physicians want telehealth to continue,” Barron said, “and also that they want the option and convenience and access of that virtual care modality to stay in place, in addition to in-person care.” 

At the start of the pandemic, telehealth was seen as a necessary way to respond to the overwhelming demand for care. Now, consumers have grown accustomed to convenient virtual experiences and virtual healthcare is not just a “nice-to-have” but an expectation among younger generations.

As a result, advanced virtual healthcare platforms and technologies will continue to develop long after the pandemic. In fact, reports show the telehealth market size is expected to reach USD 485 billion by 2030 from USD 63 billion in 2021 and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% from 2021 through 2030.

Changes in Privacy and Regulations

Telehealth ushers in convenience, flexibility and efficiency but it also welcomed a slew of questions about online privacy and ethics around patient data. 

In the future of healthcare in general, the dissemination of virtual healthcare data will require updated guidelines and regulations to protect patients. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed, the government will likely update and communicate clear regulations around the use of telehealth, compensation and cost related to telehealth services, HIPAA-compliant communication tools and more.

Smiling hospital administrator

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary for Healthcare Administrator Jobs?

The job outlook for healthcare administrator jobs continues to grow due to the demand that COVID-19 has placed on the healthcare industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that administrator jobs are projected to grow 32% between 2020 and 2030. 

Beyond COVID-19, the baby boomers' large aging population will continue to require healthcare services and reinforce job growth in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare management jobs and hospital administration salaries can vary for each career depending on the industry, organization type, geographic location and other factors. 

According to BLS, healthcare administrator jobs offer a generous salary with a median pay of $104,280 per year. 

In the U.S. a hospital administrator in their mid to late-career can make as much as $154,000 per year. The salaries for healthcare administrator jobs are highest in busy cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and New York.

Female health administrator working at laptop

What Can I Do Next If I Want to Pursue a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration?

Ready to earn a healthcare administration degree and have access to many important and meaningful career paths? If so, learn more about the Central Christian College of Kansas’ Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration. Or connect with an enrollment advisor to see if this degree is right for you.

“Our program offers a diverse view in the industry. In addition, the program offers a very flexible approach that encourages the students to stay connected with current events in the healthcare industry,” Barreiro of Central Christian College of Kansas said. “Our students have provided positive feedback time and time again for the courses taught here. Generally, they appreciate the feasibility and flexibility of the program that allows those individuals already involved in the healthcare industry to continue working.”

Central Christian College of Kansas Online programs offer a 100% online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration that is flexible and designed for working adults. With a generous credit transfer policy, financial aid options, and exceptional support from professors and dedicated student advisors, CCCK Online makes it easy for you to fast-track your career in the healthcare industry. Learn more about our Online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration.

About Central Christian Online

With a remarkable history that dates back to 1884, Central Christian College of Kansas offers education focused on professional development and character, for students of all faith backgrounds. Through our global online learning environment, Central Christian College of Kansas is dedicated to providing a world-class education that equips you to serve with distinction. Students from around the country benefit from our top-ranked and accredited 100% online programs, enjoying the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives. To get curriculum details and download a free program guide, visit: myonline.centralchristian.edu.

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