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For management of health information systems, such as electronic medical records, see Health information management.

Health administration or healthcare administration is the field relating to leadership, management, and administration of hospitals, hospital networks, and health care services. Health care administrators are considered health care professionals.

The discipline is known by many names, including health management, healthcare management, health systems management, health care systems management, and medical and health services management.[1][2][3] are also common.


In the United States, the first modern health systems management program was established in 1934 at the University of Chicago.[4] At the time, programs were completed in two years – one year of formal graduate study and one year of internship. In 1958, the Sloan program at Cornell University began offering a program requiring two years of formal study[5], which remains the dominant structure in the United States and Canada today (see also "Academic Preparation"). In 1978, as part of an effort to establish healthcare management as an autonomous profession, the first modern practitioner-teacher model graduate program was established at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.[6][7]

Health systems management has been described as a “hidden” health profession [8] because of the relatively low-profile role managers take in health systems, in comparison to direct-care professions such as nursing and medicine. However the visibility of the management profession within healthcare has been rising in recent years, due largely to the widespread problems developed countries are having in balancing cost, access, and quality in their hospitals and health systems.[9]

Education and training

A master's degree is considered the "standard credential"[10] for most health administrators in the United States. There are multiple recognized degree types that are considered equivalent from the perspective of professional preparation.

The Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is the accrediting body overseeing master's-level programs in the United States and Canada on behalf of the United States Department of Education. It accredits several degree program types, including Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Public Health (MPH, MSPH, MSHPM), Master of Science (MS-HSM, MS-HA), and Master of Public Administration (MPA).

Professional Organizations

There are numerous professional associations related to health systems management, which can be subcategorized as either personal or institutional membership groups. Personal membership groups are joined by individuals, and typically have individual skill and career development as their focus. Larger personal membership groups include the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Institutional membership groups are joined by organizations; they typically focus on organizational effectiveness, and may also include data-sharing agreements and other best-practice sharing vehicles for member organizations. Prominent examples include the American Hospital Association and the University Healthsystems Consortium.

See also


  1. World Health Organization - Management.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  3. ACHE Health Management Careers website.
  4. University of Chicago - Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy.
  5. Stevens, R. (1999). “In sickness and in wealth: American hospitals in the twentieth century.” Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  6. Montgomery LD, Enzbrenner LR, Lerner WM (1991). The practitioner-teacher model revisited. The Journal Of Health Administration Education, 9(1), 9-24.
  7. Rush University - Department of Health Systems Management.
  8. Haddock, C. C., & McLean, R. D. (2002). “Careers in Healthcare Management: How to Find your Path and Follow It.” Chicago: Health Administration Press.
  9. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2006). “Rising health costs put pressure on public finances, finds OECD.” Retrieved January 20, 2009 from the OECD Web site:,3343,en_2649_201185_36986213_1_1_1_1,00.html
  10. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook entry.

External links

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