A PRESCRIPTION FOR HEALTH CARE
Students prepare to lead
By Arletta Wallace, Mary Moore, and Tracy Smith
Published Aug. 21, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic marks a new era in health care management, requiring more expertise and innovation. Photo: Ben P. Ward / Colorado State University
The health care industry is among those fully shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic: At some facilities, testing, emergency, intensive care, and other operations are at or beyond capacity as they respond to sick patients.
In a related challenge, health care systems have seen skyrocketing costs for personal protective equipment and other technologies and supplies needed for COVID-19 patient care. At the other end of the spectrum, most nonurgent medical care came to a full stop in the early months of the pandemic, as offices and hospitals halted interactions that could spread the virus; this has had ripple effects in health care employment and financial stability. Meantime, telemedicine has ballooned – with its own set of complex financial and management implications.
This is clearly a new and evolving era in health care administration.
As these industry challenges unfold, those of us who lead and teach CSU Global courses in health care management are quickly developing and delivering relevant, real-world education to address current needs. Our university has robust degree offerings in health care administration, designed to help students access burgeoning opportunities in the field. We also work with key industry partners to develop academic programming; in many cases, their employees earn credentials for career advancement.
In response to the pandemic, we are offering a free noncredit course within the university’s new Global Learn platform (csuglobal.edu/globallearn) to help those interested learn about aspects of this national health care crisis.
Our fully online model also allows us to immediately incorporate current trends and topics into our courses, which is especially valuable for students already working in health care. For instance, students are learning from faculty and peers about Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine, PPE supply challenges, and ICU staffing. We are including COVID-19 in presentations about public health, global health policy, and strategic management.
Our management courses are also looking ahead – to a future in which telehealth and remote monitoring are broadly established in the health care industry. We are preparing students for administrative careers that encompass emerging technologies, such as use of artificial intelligence in robot-assisted surgery, medical error reduction, automated image diagnosis, and cybersecurity. Our students are learning about big data analytics as a powerful tool to manage health care’s financial services, telecommunications, and clinical information; they’re learning to leverage data analytics to make critical management decisions.
Health care administration already offers strong employment opportunities, and technological innovations are driving a need for more specialized expertise among tomorrow’s industry leaders. Through CSU Global’s advanced, flexible, and career-relevant programs, students are preparing to help health care organizations boost public health, reduce care costs, and improve patient experiences and outcomes – now and after the COVID-19 pandemic has been controlled.
Arletta Wallace is program manager for Colorado State University Global’s health care administration programs; Mary Moore and Tracy Smith are core faculty members.