Regardless of the industry, moving forward requires some reflection on the past, an assessment of the present, and an analysis of future trends. This is especially true for those in the healthcare sector – an area where typical protocols, guidelines, and state and federal laws have been turned upside down with the pandemic.
According to the faculty of Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, which is responsible for the Master of Health Services AdministrationThere are five key areas that will affect the future of the field in the United States. They shared their thoughts and analysis in the Fall 2020 edition of The Journal of Health Administration Education.
Her article, titled “Educational Programs for Health Services Administration in the United States: An Assessment of Past, Present, and Future Perspectives,” highlights the need for adaptability of instruction to advance the delivery of care in the field.
The authors include Mariceli Comellas; Tina Yeung; Chanadra Young-Whiting; Kellen Hassell; Frank Fan; Michelle Kameka; and Yamile Marrero.
“Students are in an environment where we encourage growth and curiosity,” says co-author Mariceli Comellas, program director for health services. “Our students want to have an impact on our health care system and any options they discover during the program. It is our job to make sure they are given the most relevant instruction assessing what is happening and what may be coming.”
The areas that shape the education and field of health service administration include partnerships, globalization, technology, funding, and policy change, according to the authors.
As the Masters program offers a residency option, the department is always looking for new partnerships with companies to help students gain valuable experience and potential employment. Partnerships with tech companies are important, Comellas points out as she explains how the future will require professionals who understand advanced digital methods for managing care.
In line with the university’s internationalization efforts, the department is currently looking for international universities to work with, particularly in the Caribbean and Latin America. These efforts will provide mobility and portability for students, and expand innovation through diversity, Comellas says.
Technological advances during the pandemic provided academic continuity for students on the Masters course, which is offered in fully online and hybrid formats. In this area, technology also offered greater reliance on telehealth services, which are emerging as the mainstay of continuity of care. This is especially true for chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, Comellas says.
“Students are living in an exciting time of accessibility with online and hybrid learning options. You will also learn that there is a void in the healthcare system that technology can solve, ”explains Comellas, who adds that digital options including artificial intelligence can provide better coordination of care and transparency for patients.
Funding and grants can be a challenge to research in any educational program, and this is the case with healthcare education, according to the authors. Reform efforts are currently underway to change this. The authors fuel the reform, citing the need and increased demand for health service administrators across the country.
The laws and rules that dictate health care practice are paramount to education – especially when they change frequently to address health care emergencies. Comellas points to current events such as vaccinations, access to care, and even opioid use as some of the current driving factors.
“The history of HSA education has been one of constant evolution and change,” notes Comellas. “But we are ready to direct our students to the challenge of helping people in communities live healthier lives.”