Human Resource Management in Health Care

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Human resource manager makes notes on health care staffing.


Human resource (HR) managers are vital to the health care industry. Working in hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies, they interact with health administrators, clinicians, and patients. The policies enacted by HR managers support a facility’s goals and help ensure quality care. Human resource managers also exhibit great communication and leadership skills that enable them to manage hiring, training, claims, and administrative affairs in an organization. Those looking for a career in human resource management in health care can prepare by pursuing an advanced degree in health administration.

What Is Human Resource Management in Health Care?

Human resource management in health care requires human resource professionals to navigate the evolving world of the health care industry. HR managers are mainly responsible for ensuring services are efficient for administrative staff, clinicians, and patients. They also address the many areas of concern in the health care industry, including managing financials, promoting employee retention, and ensuring that health care regulations are being met. To address all these concerns, HR managers must focus on the big picture and have the organizational skills to manage these different areas.

HR managers help their facilities retain employees and adhere to health care regulations by providing training programs and ensuring that all personnel are up to date on their training. Human resource managers strategize with health administrators in the planning process and the decision-making that goes into running a health care facility. Human resource management in health care requires professionals to take a more hands-on approach that extends far beyond keeping records and enforcing health care and professional regulations.

The Functions of Human Resource Management  

For a health care facility to function effectively, human resource managers must be able to hire the right candidates for each job. They vet and hire applicants, as well as advise management on salary and health care benefits for employees. Alongside hiring clinicians, HR managers are also responsible for hiring health care administrators, human resource staff, and service staff.

HR managers are required to stay abreast of health care laws and regulations, such as the Medicare and Medicaid Patient Program and Protection Act, and they must work closely with lawyers to ensure a health care facility’s compliance. They also address and handle claims for patients, as well as develop employee training programs. When hiring nurses and doctors, HR managers are able to understand medical contracts and discuss them with these clinicians. Their ability to understand laws and regulations in a health care setting helps prevent an organization from being liable to lawsuits.

HR managers must also work closely with an organization’s employees. They must be able to effectively communicate with all staff members, from clinicians to administrative and service professionals. They must effectively convey the expectations of each department, as well as collaborate with other divisions in the organization to provide better care for patients and a better work environment for employees. Moreover, HR managers are responsible for knowing how to interact with employees from different backgrounds, which may require a level of empathy to appropriately communicate sensitive information around firings, layoffs, and patient complaints, for example.

Another responsibility of human resource management in health care is to ensure the necessary training is provided to staff to stay up to date on local, state, and federal regulations, as well as ensuring that nurses and doctors have the appropriate certifications. HR managers must verify that all doctors are properly certified, as well as inform those whose certification has lapsed of the steps they need to take to recertify. HR managers are also responsible for conducting background checks on employees to prevent liability issues in the workplace.

Moreover, HR managers are responsible for collaborating with the IT department to understand how technology is changing the way the industry handles data, especially with the transition to electronic health records (EHRs). Together, HR and IT professionals work to protect patient health records from being misused by employees or hackers. They also note what technology is being utilized effectively and which technology is impeding clinicians from providing adequate care to their patients.

How to Become a Human Resource Manager in Health Care

Human resource management in health care is a rewarding career that provides opportunity for professionals with the right education and skills.

Human resource managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in business, health administration, or finance. Those looking to further their professional advancement in the field can pursue a master’s degree in health administration. These graduate programs can prepare professionals to develop the necessary skills to succeed in human resource management in health care.

HR managers possess skills in communication, decision-making, and budgeting. Combined with their legal knowledge and empathy, this skill set allows them to fill a variety of human resource management positions. HR managers are well-rounded professionals responsible for a variety of tasks in an organization and exhibit the emotional intelligence to manage patient expectations and employee satisfaction.

Prepare to Advance Your Career in Health Administration

Human resource managers are integral to the management and efficiency of health care organizations. They oversee employee affairs and ensure their employers are abiding by all laws and regulations. A Master of Health Administration prepares students to take on these professional responsibilities.

Ohio University’s online Master of Health Administration (MHA) equips students with the skills to pursue work as human resource managers, health administrators, and operations managers. The curriculum includes courses such as Introduction to the U.S. Health Care Delivery System, Leadership of Health Organizations, and Health Care Finance. Explore how Ohio University’s online Master of Health Administration prepares students to be effective leaders in the 21st-century health care industry.


Recommended Readings

National Patient Safety Goals for Health Care

How AI in Health Care Is Driving Change — For the Better

The Major Problems in the U.S. Healthcare System and How They May Be Fixed


BrainMass, “Human Resource Management Role in Health Care Industry”

Forbes, “How Three Common Health Conditions Impact Your Workforce, and How HR Can Help”

Houston Chronicle, “The Role of HR Manager in Health Care”  

Ohio University, Online Master of Health Administration Course Descriptions

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Human Resources Managers

Workest, “The HR Challenges Shaping the Healthcare Industry”