Hospitals

Another venue for medical practice management is the hospital. Like any health care facility, hospitals require more than just the clinical staff to operate. Managers are necessary to handle everything outside of the patient care itself. Moreover, because hospitals are generally enormous with hundreds (if not thousands) of staff members, many medical managers are required. Usually, each department has its own manager. For example, the intensive care unit (ICU), cardiology department, neurology department, and pediatrics will each have their own practice or departmental manager. So not only do the medical managers have to do their jobs impeccably, they must also coordinate their activities with the managers of other departments to ensure the entire hospital is functioning together toward the same goal.

There are several job functions unique to medical practice managers working in hospital settings. These include admissions, patient transfers, and discharges. These functions are trickier than they may seem at first. Many patients enter the hospital for planned treatments. Prior to admission, their doctor’s office will schedule their stay with the hospital. The manager must then make sure a bed is available for that patient when he or she arrives for the scheduled treatment. This can get complicated when emergent patients are factored in. If a manager has all beds filled with pre-scheduled admissions and an unanticipated emergent patient requires care, a space issue is created. However, if the manager only accepts a few scheduled patients and no emergent patients arrive, many beds will be left empty, leaving staff with very little to do and a loss of revenue from the lack of patients. Accordingly, the influx and efflux of patients into any department requires a careful balance of admissions, patient transfers to other departments, and discharges – all of which must be overseen by the department manager.

The other duties of a hospital department manager are very similar to those of a medical practice manager. There are budgets to be created, supplies to order, and protocols to determine. Additionally, the manager must work on staff schedules, operations management, and work flow optimization. In the hospital, the manager does not function autonomously. Many protocols, rules, and regulations are formulated by the governing board of the hospital. The department manager must integrate all policies set by the board into their departmental operations and provide evidence of compliance.

Working as a manager of a hospital department can be a uniquely exciting challenge. Patients arrive throughout the day and night with unforeseen conditions. The department must be ready to handle whatever comes through the doors, and it is up to the department manager to make sure it does.

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