Vanderbilt Healthcare Management Certificate

Effective healthcare is essential in our society, and it is also a complex business that requires highly capable management and thoughtful leadership. This course is designed to address the needs of emerging leaders working in a wide range of healthcare settings. The course focuses on 2 main themes: managing healthcare organizations and leading healthcare teams.

Managing Healthcare Organizations

Management of healthcare organizations requires detailed knowledge of the U.S. healthcare system. You will begin by examining the structure of the system and how you can make decisions that will lead to your organization’s sustainable financial future. You will learn to interpret financial statements, analyze critical metrics, and create budgets. Next, you will focus on operational strategies and tools that will enhance your ability to create staffing models, improve quality and safety, solve problems, and deliver a consistently positive customer experience.

Managing Healthcare Organizations Modules Faculty
Understanding the System

  • Key vocabulary and concepts
  • Payors
  • Competition
  • Hospitals and the American Healthcare System
  • Hospitals and Financial Sustainability
Mark Frisse
Facility Economics

  • Financial statements
  • Critical metrics
  • Budgeting
  • Financial Statements and Critical Metrics
  • Budgeting for Healthcare Providers
Warren Beck
Operating the Department

  • Process mapping/root cause analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Staffing modeling
  • Customer experience
  • Quality/safety
  • Staffing Models
  • Quality and Safety
  • Problem Solving
  • Customer Experience
Jodi Thurman

Leading Healthcare Teams

Effective leadership is vital to the success of every healthcare organization. During this course in healthcare management, you will learn to better understand your strengths and leverage your impact as a leader. You will learn communication, coaching, and feedback techniques that can improve the performance of your team. Finally, you will study strategies for effectively managing teams during times of change and uncertainty and develop specialized skills for leading inclusive organizations.

Leading Healthcare Teams Modules Faculty
Understanding Self

  • Self-awareness
  • Personal style
  • Transition from peer to leader
  • The Role of a Leader
  • Reaching Your Leadership Potential
Ranga Ramanujam
Leading Others

  • Communications: up/down/peers
  • Interviewing/Recruiting
  • Coaching/Feedback
  • Managing virtually
  • Leading High-Performance Teams
  • Communicating Effectively Up, Down, and with Peers
  • Managing Virtually
Mark Cannon
Leading the Organization

  • Managing change and uncertainty
  • Ensuring diversity and inclusion
  • Managing Change and Uncertainty
  • Leading Inclusive Organizations
Corbette Doyle

Module Descriptions and Learning Outcomes

The entire course consists of 16 modules delivered in 3 months. The course will also feature 3 synchronous, live sessions, which will be recorded. Participants are encouraged to attend at least 2 live sessions in order to connect with peers and industry professionals in addition to taking away concepts and skills that you can apply to your career.

Participants can earn 4.8 CEUs (continuing education credits) upon request. Speak with a career advisor for more information.

This module emphasizes hospitals—the highest cost and most complex component of our healthcare system. Hospitals vary dramatically in their size, geography, mission, financing, and ownership. Hospitals also vary in the extent to which they are financed by a range of commercial, state, and federal financing systems, creating extremely complex systems to associate care delivered with reimbursement. Each hospital continually faces ongoing clinical, economic, and technology challenges, but their challenges depend on their clinical, social, financial, operating, and other characteristics. No matter what their geographic setting, reimbursement mix, or ownership structure, every hospital has a value proposition, a profit formula, specific processes, and critical resources. In this module, you will explore:

  • Why hospitals are so expensive and complex
  • How hospitals vary dramatically in their size, geography, mission, financing, and ownership
  • The wide range of payors and payment models (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, employer-sponsored plans) and how these pay different amounts for the same services and add considerable administrative complexity
  • How hospital reimbursement model variability and regulatory complexity affect hospital clinical and financial performance because of their impact on productivity, outcomes, and costs
  • Why other countries do not face these same complexities

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Expand your healthcare delivery and financing vocabulary
  • Describe how and why healthcare costs are so high in the U.S.
  • Characterize the major sources of healthcare payments and describe some differences among them and define the incentives these sources have to lower costs
  • Understand the differences among rural/urban hospitals, large and small healthcare systems, for-profit and nonprofit structures, safety net hospitals, critical access hospitals, and disproportionate share providers
  • Identify ways these issues may influence perceptions of what you must learn to become more effective in your organization

This module articulates why the trajectory of expenditures is not sustainable. A comparison with similar metrics for 11 other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries is briefly presented and demonstrates that the more expensive American system does not seem to be commensurate with improved quality of health.1 In this module, you will explore:

  • The high cost of American healthcare and why these costs are not sustainable
  • A description of the financial implications on the federal debt, states, companies, families, and individuals
  • What hospitals and healthcare delivery organizations are doing to address rising costs
  • What individuals, employers, health plans, government, and policymakers are doing to address costs
  • How new organizational forms and innovative care approaches may influence health care cost and quality

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand the principal cost drivers for American healthcare
  • Appreciate the need for effective management for lower-cost, higher-value care
  • Explain what “competition” is in healthcare—and what it is not
  • Understand at a high level the importance of simpler payment methods
  • Describe how different forms of mergers impact care quality, markets, internal costs, and external prices
  • Articulate why hospitals, health plans, entrepreneurs, and private equity firms are creating larger, highly integrated “vertical consolidations”
  • Speculate on how newer, consumer-focused healthcare delivery companies show promise

1 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Reports generally provide detailed information for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Median values for all 37 OECD democracies are presented when available.

This module discusses the use and interpretation of financial information included in financial statements and the use of financial metrics to evaluate business performance and financial risk. Financial statements tell a story about every business, but the key to that story is understanding the important trends and risk factors. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the difference between cash and accrual accounting
  • Explain the interrelationship between the Statement of Operations, Balance Sheet, and Statement of Cash Flows
  • Communicate the relationship of liquidity, profitability, and debt management
  • Identify financial risks through the analysis of financial footnotes and disclosures
  • Calculate and interpret financial ratios and identify the impact on debt ratings
  • Evaluate department financial reports and recognize negative performance trends
  • Analyze department performance metrics and determine their impact to gross and net margin

This module discusses the business value of creating a budget and the processes that should be implemented to create an operating and capital budget that leads to financial stability and organizational accountability. Budgeting is a systematic method for comparing estimated with actual results which provides a time frame to manage finances and cash flow, and to plan, organize, track, and improve business financial performance. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the value of developing an operating budget that balances margin and quality of care
  • Create operating and capital budgets that are balanced and consider their inter-dependence
  • Apply best practices to the budget process that ensures timeliness, accuracy, and accountability
  • Create accurate estimates of operating costs (labor, fixed, and variable costs)
  • Apply the coordination of operational plans and capital investments with financial targets and strategic initiatives
  • Explain the budget workflow and the relationship of volume drivers and changes to economic conditions to operational resources and the resulting financial plan
  • Develop a process to monitor budget to actual results that strives for continuous improvement

Staffing is one of healthcare’s biggest ongoing challenges. Hospitals can no longer depend exclusively on the traditional staffing models of the past, as the needs of the workforce are changing. It is important for leaders to understand the basic fundamentals of labor and resource management and be able to manage flexible staffing and scheduling. This module emphasizes the fundamentals of labor management and different staffing models and the impact they have on departmental operations and patient outcomes. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe different staffing models and how they can be utilized to resource a unit appropriately
  • Define basic labor management terms and principles
  • Create a department staffing budget
  • Build and balance a department schedule
  • Articulate the difference between departmental scheduling and managing day-to-day staffing operations

Healthcare and healthcare practices are overwhelmed with inappropriate utilization of services and errors. As a healthcare leader, you must be able to assess and identify practices within your department or organization that impede quality care and put patient safety at risk, and understand how to lead quality and safety initiatives for better patient outcomes. This module will introduce the fundamentals of quality improvement and patient safety. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe a brief history of the modern patient safety movement
  • Recognize the relationship between quality improvement and patient safety
  • Identify and build resources related to patient safety

Unit leaders must be change agents to identify and solve problems within their departments. Process changes require deliberate strategic planning prior to implementing a change, and it is important for leaders to understand the basic concepts of change, risks associated with change, and the tools available to assist in problem-solving and departmental change projects. It is also vital for a leader to be able to organize and manage a project to reach the desired end state. This module explores change management and different tools that can be used for quality improvement and patient safety problem-solving, in addition to the basic principles of project management. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Manage quality improvement and patient safety change initiatives
  • Determine the best tool for a departmental change initiative
  • Prepare a basic project management plan

As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure the best culture is in place to support a customer-focused mission. If a department does not have cultural readiness, you will be unable to accomplish your strategic and operational imperatives, which include engaged staff and satisfied customers. The high-reliability framework seeks to align systems to avoid errors and improve patient safety and quality processes with a team-based approach. Improved quality and safety, efficient processes, and mitigating avoidable suffering lead to improved customer experience. Engaging employees in the care they provide highlights their value as part of the care team and allows them to provide compassionate and connected care to their patients. This module explores the concept of a high-reliability organization, best practices to improve employee engagement and retention, and customer service techniques with a proven ability to impact a customer’s experience. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Define the concept of a high-reliability organization
  • Describe the importance of employee engagement and its effects on the customer experience
  • Implement customer service best practices

The role of a leader is multifaceted in ways that go beyond the formal job description. A clear understanding of the role of leadership is foundational to becoming an effective leader. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the various facets of the role of a leader and manager
  • Appreciate the need for balanced allocation of managerial time and attention
  • Embrace the imperative of becoming the CEO of your own career
  • Recognize your personal strengths, opportunities, and values as a leader

Have you accepted the title of CEO of your career? Being your own CEO means increasing your self awareness, preparing for future opportunities, and committing to continuous growth and improvement. This module will help you identify your strengths, values, and preferred methods of work. You will explore the importance of applying a growth mindset as you assess your ability to become a more effective leader. You will learn a deliberate approach to receiving and analyzing feedback, using it as fuel for professional growth and development. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Value the significance of growth mindset for ongoing learning
  • Identify ways to cultivate a growth mindset in self and others
  • Recognize the importance of gathering and analyzing feedback for professional development
  • Overcome barriers that cause people to ignore or discount feedback

Transitions to leadership roles are often considerably less successful than they should be. You will learn the characteristics of high-performance teams and how effective team leaders think and act differently. You will assess your own leadership orientation and determine how best to deploy your distinctive strengths. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify characteristics of high-performance teams
  • Discuss the characteristics of effective team leaders
  • Explain how effective leaders balance task, relationship, influencing, and culture-building roles
  • Apply a framework for assessing leadership dilemmas and solving problems
  • Use your knowledge of your own leadership orientation to build high-performance teams

Effective leaders must communicate clearly and persuasively to multiple constituencies. Those above, below, and at the peer level have different wants and needs, and leaders have different objectives to accomplish across these individuals. Leaders often struggle to see how they can best maximize their effectiveness when communicating with different parties and individuals who may not share their leader’s perspective. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Communicate a compelling vision and set of goals
  • Describe how communication commonly breaks down and what can be done to remedy this
  • Explain your own style for dealing with persuasive or conflictual conversations
  • Apply your knowledge of communication strategies to enhance your clarity and persuasiveness
  • Apply a framework for effective problem-solving conversations

Although coaching and feedback are some of the best ways of developing people and enhancing team performance, they rate among the very bottom of leader competencies as assessed by 360-degree feedback. Increasingly, line managers are expected to deploy managerial coaching skills. Having these skills supports attracting and retaining the best talent. You will learn the GROW coaching model and how to design and deliver actionable feedback. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain how coaching and feedback skills are beneficial in recruiting and retaining talent
  • Use questions to stimulate others to develop and take responsibility for their own development
  • Apply a facilitative coaching style
  • Use the GROW coaching model to coach subordinates
  • Design and deliver actionable feedback
  • Apply key findings on coaching and feedback to enhance your own ongoing development and progress

Managers should expect that ongoing changes in demographics, technology, worker preferences, and other factors. will continue to produce distinctive challenges and opportunities. This module focuses on perspectives, practices, tools, and skills that enable effective ongoing adaptation to the evolving work environment. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain key challenges and best practices for leading virtually
  • Distinguish between technical and adaptive problems
  • Apply design thinking principles to addressing ongoing challenges of virtual work and working relationships
  • Identify the key virtual team roles: organizer, doer, challenger, innovator, team builder, and connector
  • Use the knowledge of your preferred role or roles in building a team with complementary strengths

Rapid technological, demographic, political, and economic changes threaten the future of many entities in the healthcare industry. Sustainable organizations will adapt rapidly—without needing a pandemic-level crisis to stimulate change. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Discuss change agility as a crucial competency in healthcare
  • Identify the core components of a successful strategy for change
  • Diagnose the type of change effort and the organizational readiness for the change
  • Describe the keys to a successful change initiative
  • Identify the key ways unit-level leaders can support change efforts
  • Identify key strategies for institutionalizing change

Efforts to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are some of the most important change management initiatives in healthcare—and some of the most difficult to implement successfully. After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain why successful DEIB is particularly critical in the healthcare industry
  • Apply the components of successful change strategies to DEIB initiatives
  • Identify concrete steps a manager can take to help everyone on the team feel as though they belong


To learn more about the Vanderbilt Healthcare Management Certificate and download a brochure, please fill out this form. You can also get in touch with a career advisor directly by calling us toll-free at 844-773-3726.

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