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What Are the Responsibilities of a Hospital Administrator?

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The burgeoning health care industry ecosystem comprising hospitals, specialty clinics, medical centers, private health care facilities and the need for 24/7 patient care has raised the profile and overall responsibilities of administrators. A hospital administrator functions like a de facto CEO or business manager and is fully responsible for the smooth, efficient and day-to-day running and operations of a hospital. He or she interacts and coordinates with varied audiences and stakeholders on a regular basis.

Business Aspects

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Hospitals are now run like small- or medium-sized businesses and involve all conventional business operations, practices and procedures. A hospital administrator has to manage the business side of the hospital to ensure smooth running of the hospital on all fronts. The business aspects encompass management of human resources and personnel, establishing policies and procedures, maintaining of computer systems and databases, allocation of budgets, tracking accounts and finance, and other organizational systems. He or she coordinates with professionals, staff members and other employees and assigns their duties and tasks.

Address Doctors' Needs

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A hospital administrator has to interact, engage and coordinate with doctors, physicians, surgeons, nurses, health care technicians, other medical staff members and health care professionals involved with the primary care, treatment and rehabilitation of patients. A hospital administrator has to draw up schedules for resident doctors and allied medical staff, address their specific needs and ensure that they are able to perform their primary duties of looking after patients, professionally and ethically. A hospital administrator also coordinates with external specialists and consultants in case of emergencies and specialized operations.

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Patients’ Medical Care and Well-Being

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The care and treatment of patients in the hospital is a major responsibility of the hospital administrator. He or she has to ensure the availability and deliverability of quality facilities and amenities for all patients. The administrator has to motivate the medical teams and allied staff members to perform their roles, tasks and functions to the best of their abilities to make the patients feel comfortable at all times. He or she takes rounds of all rooms and centers where patients are housed or recuperating and, if necessary, makes quick, informed decisions to alleviate or improve patient care.

Liaise with External Vendors

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A hospital administrator has to liaise with vendors, contractors, insurance firms, suppliers and other partners on a regular basis. Keeping the hospital stocked with drugs, medicines, food items, hospital equipment, systems, allied hospital gadgets and machinery is a priority item.This is a critical responsibility so as to ensure that the primary and tertiary care of patients and the specialized needs of doctors and surgeons are not compromised. The administrator has to have sound negotiation skills to draw up the right contracts, follow-up on orders and maximize purchasing power with vendors and suppliers.

Other Responsibilities

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A hospital administrator interacts with a governing board or trustees or other owner-management professionals of the hospital to undertake review of policies and frameworks. Experienced administrators also train trainee doctors, newly inducted nurses and assistant staff and other assistant administrators. Depending on budget allocation and resources, the hospital administrator establishes programs for medical research, preventive medicine and community welfare. He or she is also involved in various public awareness health care campaigns and social advocacy activities. The administrator attends fundraising events, local health council meetings and professional industry conferences.

About the Author

Based out of the metropolitan Washington D.C. area, Pallab Dutta has written on business, technology and management issues since 1994. He has freelanced for “The Wall Street Journal," “The Economic Times” and “The Times of India." Dutta holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Bombay University and a Diploma in modern information systems from IIT Bombay.

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