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Job outlook for skilled administrators set to spike in the wake of healthcare changes driven by COVID-19

Public Health

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced sweeping changes on numerous industries, healthcare not the least among them. This has changed the job outlook, creating a larger demand for skilled healthcare administrators. 

Man talking to doctor.

During the pandemic, health systems have had to quickly implement new capacity-planning methods to balance the availability of beds, staff and hospital resources. The planning models had to account for surges in demand, given the variability of virus positivity rates in geographical areas. COVID-19 spread and severity have proven variable over time and location, leading to periods of spiked demand followed by periods of empty beds. Advanced data analytics surfaced as a tool healthcare administrators must have to make valid planning decisions. Data modeling allows planners to design and implement strategies that can prevent disastrous resource strain, like those witnessed in New York City in April 2020.

At the same time, studies have shown about one-third of middle-aged adults did not seek care for other health concerns because of fears of exposure to the virus or the fact that healthcare services were prioritized for COVID-19 patients.* A large percentage of the adults who delayed or went without care because of the pandemic report negative effects to their health. This data indicates a need for healthcare administrators to prepare for a surge of required care in their community. 

National average salary: health administration 153,084

Purdue’s reputation for excellence in data science and analytics combined with its new online Master of Health Administration degree positions the University  to equip healthcare administrators and managers with the tools needed to guide healthcare organizations in the pandemic and post-pandemic environments. Courses like Data Driven Decision-Making in Healthcare, Information Powered Patient Care in the 21st Century, and Managing Complex Healthcare Operations address the ongoing challenges that administrators face and prepare them for leadership roles with business acumen.  The courses are designed and taught by Purdue faculty with experience in the healthcare industry. The degree culminates with a capstone course that provides opportunities to demonstrate the knowledge and skills gained in a comprehensive practice-based project. 

“The U.S. healthcare system was already transforming from a sick-care system to one focused on population health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hit on our country,” said Cody Mullen, clinical associate professor in Purdue’s Department of Public Health and director of the Master of Health Administration program. “Now, as our country grapples with the aftermath of the pandemic, prepares for the potential of additional surges and continues this population health transformation the need for skilled health administrators is great. Purdue is uniquely positioned to provide the needed skills in data-driven delivery and complex organization management and operation.”

Data-driven healthcare delivery and administration were emerging trends even before the pandemic. COVID-19 has made their utility and importance evident going forward. Purdue’s Master of Health Administration degree prepares individuals for that future while also grounding them in business, economic, policy and social aspects of healthcare today.

*New data from the Current Population Survey’s supplemental COVID-19  questions was used in order to provide evidence suggesting a correlation between personal attributes (including: age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, health status, work-limiting disabilities, health insurance coverage and employment) and the likelihood of encountering a disruption in the healthcare system as a result of COVID-19. According to Health Affairs, “Involuntary care disruption is defined as delayed or cancelled care that was not initiated by the patient.”

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