Healthcare is the prevention and treatment of illness as well as the improvement of wellbeing by medical professionals. This term can be used to describe healthcare provided to individuals, but often refers to the healthcare delivery systems responsible for providing health services to communities more broadly, including entire countries. Access to healthcare is thus important for promoting and maintaining the physical and mental wellbeing of the general public.
Healthcare is especially important to learn about because it is becoming more complex as health economics change. In the United States and other countries, the question of how to provide affordable and effective health insurance has been a politically challenging one, as healthcare costs have grown alongside aging populations - and existing government policies to ensure healthcare access have struggled to keep up. The provision of insurance and health services more broadly may be covered by public entities, private companies, or both, and different countries are attempting to meet these needs with different combinations of policy frameworks.
As in other areas of the economy, the growing use of information technology holds promise to transform this sector. Health informatics is helping medical professionals manage patient data far more efficiently, facilitating better treatment and enhanced collaboration between different healthcare providers. The power of this approach will be further enhanced by advances in artificial intelligence (AI), which will allow doctors to harness more information for diagnosis and develop data-driven decision support systems for the evaluation of different treatments for patients.
The functioning of the healthcare system depends on not only doctors and nurses but on the skilled healthcare administration professionals who manage hospitals and clinics where they work. These administrators are responsible for ensuring the coordination of everything that goes into the effective delivery of healthcare services as well as the financial sustainability of their operations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these healthcare administrators and healthcare services managers are in high demand, with jobs in this area expected to grow much faster than the rest of the economy over the next decade. These roles are also highly paid; in 2019, they earned a median annual salary of $100,980.
Yes! There are opportunities to learn about a wide range of health and wellness topics on Coursera, including courses and Specializations spanning multiple courses about healthcare specifically. You can learn about the business of healthcare, the laws and policy frameworks that govern it, or the ways that technology advances are creating new possibilities in the sector. Across all of these healthcare topics and more, you can learn from top-ranked institutions like Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Minnesota.
If you have worked in any type of health care setting or been involved with a public health initiative, you may have some of the skills and experience necessary to learn more about health care. If you have experience in data management and evaluation, you may also have skills needed to learn health care. Some of the definitive skills you may need to have before studying any facet of health care include communication skills and the ability to work in a team environment.
Learning health care may be right for you if you interact with patients or health care organizations. The subject may benefit you if you want to fully understand the major challenges and key stakeholders of the U.S. health care system and how to improve the delivery of health care to patients. It may be the right subject for you to study if you want to better understand the business, costs, and quality initiatives of health care systems. The subject may be right for you if you want to learn advanced knowledge and skills to help assess current and future health care trends, identify changes and manage strategies in the health care landscape, or have an impact on the quality of health care delivery to patients whether it is at the local, national, or global level. If you are interested in learning more about the cutting-edge field of digital health care and the design, development, and implementation of digital health technologies, then learning the subject may be right for you.
If you plan to work in administrative roles, some subjects related to health care that you can study include data management, business leadership, and economics. If you are interested in the high-tech area of health care, you could study artificial intelligence and machine learning, as these subjects will greatly impact the science, practice, and business of health care and medicine.
You could follow a common career path with a focus on patient care in a hospital or other type of health setting if you study health care. Another common career path for someone in health care is in the supporting fields of health care IT systems, the development of eHealth platforms, or the development of systems that monitor everything from patient safety to workplace quality improvements. Another common career path is health care administration. There are many common, yet varied, career paths for someone in health care.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.