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As advances in technology and modern medicine continue to grow, the need for adequately trained healthcare managers is advancing in a direct proportion. Hospitals, clinics, and all forms of medical institutions rely on leaders who can oversee all facilities’ systems. Many healthcare managers have completed a degree like the Master’s of Science in Healthcare Administration or an MBA in Healthcare Management. But before students commit to such a degree, they should consider taking advantage of some free resources. The are excellent free courses currently offered by some of the most impressive business and medical schools in the country for free. Here are some of the best free online healthcare management courses available.   

Recommended Online Healthcare Management Programs

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1. Business Process Management in Healthcare Organizations – Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

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Rutgers offers a free online healthcare management course called Business Process Management in Healthcare Organizations. The curriculum includes an overview of healthcare business processes, including business process management approaches and healthcare organization entrepreneurship lessons as a business process. The free online course provides links to external sites students can connect to with the larger real world of healthcare organization processes, entrepreneurship, and business process management. The links serve as resources distance learners can take with them after they complete the course experience.

The course format includes readings, quizzes, videos, and a project. The project requires students to synthesize course material into patient-centered business processes for a healthcare firm. The project is submitted as an electronic document in memo format as an artifact of the course, which students can circulate to colleagues or utilize as the basis for presentation events. This free course in healthcare management has lots to offer distance learners.

2. Fixing Healthcare Delivery – University of Florida

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This free course will provide distance learners with a deep understanding of healthcare issues and their solutions. It answers how those who help deliver care and those who receive care can prevent harm. Every year over 100,000 patients die from preventable errors in the United States. As over 1 million patients incur life-changing injuries, medical errors continue at the rate of one out of every ten patients. Fixing Healthcare Delivery offered by the University of Florida reveals how distance learners can change the intractable problem.

The curriculum covers fundamental areas healthcare providers need to understand and utilize to fix healthcare delivery. They are applying the principles of high-performing manufacturers to improve healthcare processes continually. They discuss how healthcare managers need to learn how to lead multidisciplinary teams that include patients and coordinate their care. While the human brain continually makes errors, certain conditions increase the likelihood of these errors. The curriculum talks about how systems need to be put into place that encourage the right behaviors and how accountability can help caregivers provide the correct care at the appropriate time and in the right place. This free online course is an excellent resource for healthcare students interested in making a difference in policy and procedure.

3. Fundamentals of Machine Learning for Healthcare – Stanford University

Stanford University

Artificial intelligence and machine learning hold the potential to improve healthcare and open up a world of incredible promise. An effective healthcare reality will never be realized unless all stakeholders attain basic machine learning and healthcare concepts and principles. Stanford University‘s free Fundamentals of Machine Learning for Healthcare course introduces the fundamental principles and concepts of machine learning as it applies to healthcare and medicine.

The curriculum explores metrics unique to healthcare, machine learning approaches, and medical use cases, as well as best practices for designing, constructing, and evaluating machine learning healthcare applications. The course is designed to empower those with non-engineering backgrounds in pharmaceutical development, healthcare, health policy, and data science with the ability to evaluate and use modern technologies critically. Enrolled students will learn how to define essential relationships between the fields of traditional computer programming, machine learning, and biostatistics.

4. Global Health Informatics to Improve Quality of Care – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Within the free course of Global Health Informatics to Improve Quality of Care from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, distance learners explore ways to leverage information technology to fight disease and promote health, specifically in resource-limited settings. Modern technology is a driving force that sweeps across the globe even faster than disease. The worldwide spread of mobile phone use brings computational data and power to our fingertips with new paradigms in tracking and combatting disease.

This free online course explores innovations in information systems within developing countries. There is a focus not only on the vital need for technology but also on broader issues determining its success, such as leadership skills, quality improvement, and project management. Healthcare delivery systems require sound and fundamental operations, like physical infrastructure and supply-chain management, to deliver top-quality care. Technology is the optimal tool to help facilitate this process. The theme of quality of care is the heartbeat of this free healthcare course.

5. Health Information Technology Fundamentals – Johns Hopkins University

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In this free online course, students will receive an overview of the health IT ecosystem, emphasizing the role of electronic health records (EHRs). Distance learners will be introduced to the many factors contributing to the shift from paper records to digitized records and who the most popular vendors are. Johns Hopkins University‘s Health Information Technology Fundamentals features information on EHRs like computerized provider order entry, medication reconciliation, clinical decision support, and documentation capabilities.

Like a doctor’s stethoscope, the EHR has become an essential tool in healthcare delivery and plays a vital role throughout the patient’s journey. Enrolled students will go through each of the steps, including patient scheduling, inpatient admissions, front desk registration, and emergency room encounters. Students are exposed to examples of how technical issues related to the EHR are often as simple as problems with logging or password resets during this free healthcare course. Students are led to understand how healthcare technology and how effective change management strategies are crucial.

Recommended Online Healthcare Management Programs

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6. Innovating in Health Care – Harvard University

Harvard University

Innovating in Health Care from Harvard University explores how designing successful global business ventures in healthcare will improve access and better meet societies and consumers’ needs. The free online healthcare management course focuses on evaluating and crafting business models that attain alignment between entrepreneurial health care ventures and the six factors that shape new health care ventures—structure, technology, financing, regulations, consumers, accountability, and public policy.

Innovating in Health Care explores these issues’ impact on business models for three kinds of innovations: technology-driven, consumer-focused, and integrations that create scale. Through lectures and insights from global healthcare innovators, distance learners will discover the decisions and challenges facing actual entrepreneurial health firms and how to interpret each situation through the IHC framework. By the end of the free online healthcare course, students will understand how to evaluate issues and apply trendsetting business models for different healthcare innovations.

7. Leading Healthcare Quality and Safety – George Washington University

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Ensuring healthcare quality and patient safety is essential. These directives should be critical focuses of everyone in the practice of healthcare, which is why this is one of the top free online healthcare management courses available. This course provides healthcare practitioners and those seeking to enter the field to introduce the skills and knowledge needed to lead quality improvement initiatives and patient safety at the macro and micro levels.

Enrolled students at George Washington University‘s Leading Healthcare Quality and Safety will discover the foundations of healthcare quality and the science which underlies quality improvement and patient safety. Participants will also explore effective healthcare measures, evaluate patient safety issues and processes using tools like human factors analysis and the Plan-Do-Study-Act model to address quality improvement needs. The free online course takes a world view of quality and patient safety, linking participants to the World Health Organization resources. Course highlights include lessons learned from other industries and exposure to the President of the NCQA and other healthcare quality leaders.

8. The Economics of Health Care Delivery – University of Pennsylvania

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The Economics of Health Care Delivery at the University of Pennsylvania allows online students the chance to become familiar with the critical components of healthcare and the economics behind their pricing strategies and principles. Professors Guy David of the Wharton School and Ezekiel Emanuel of Penn Medicine have designed this free online course to help students understand the complex structure of health insurance and the healthcare system.

Through the study of providers and insurance through an economic filter, students learn how basic economic principles apply to both payment methods and principles. By the end of this course, students can identify different healthcare providers and process the dynamics between providers and patients to employ best practices while maximizing profit for a healthcare organization. This course was designed to give distance learners a deeper understanding of the American healthcare system’s structure and history. This incredible free resource will help shape a student’s understanding of modern healthcare economics.

9. The Science of Health Care Delivery – Arizona State University

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The Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care and Mayo Clinic has teamed up to develop the innovative and free Science of Health Care Delivery training program, which introduces scientific approaches to quality improvement in population health and patient care. Students also examine ways to reduce healthcare costs. The complete training, which explores essential concepts in the Science of Health Care Delivery and why it is vital to future patient care, can be used by all healthcare professionals or as a resource for aspiring care providers.

By the end of this free course, learners can recognize how education in the Science of Health Care Delivery will enhance and improve the quality of patient health, provider care, and healthcare systems. The course consists of a multimedia presentation of Science of Health Care Delivery domains followed by video segments of patients and caregivers who embody or apply new skills, attitudes, and knowledge learned from the Science of Health Care Delivery. A reflection after each video reinforces the domain’s concepts. Learners can also seek more information into this dynamic healthcare leadership field with the additional resources featured at the course’s conclusion.

10. Value-Based Care: Introduction to Value-Based Care and the U.S. Healthcare System – University of Houston

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This free online course by U of H is designed to introduce healthcare students to the concept of value-based care. While the information they explore is general, it will help them to establish a solid foundation for continued education and future exploration into the concept of VBC. Through a historical lens, the University of Houston’s Value-Based Care: Introduction to Value-Based Care and the U.S. Healthcare System course explores the creation of Medicare and Medicaid and the history of TRICARE, commercial insurance, and the Veterans Health Administration.

Because history is a filter for understanding healthcare in the U.S., distance learners will understand how each of these mechanisms emerged while populations were served and what changes took place over time, with stress on funding and expenditures. This free course will also help healthcare students establish a firm foundation for understanding quality measures and healthcare outcomes. In the course’s summative assignment, students use a national system of quality measures to design a plan that positively impacts value within a healthcare organization.

Recommended Online Healthcare Management Programs

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Next Steps

This list of high-quality free online healthcare management courses is brimming with easy access as it is vital to grasp key concepts of leadership in the healthcare management field. For some, these courses will act as primers for the adventure of pursuing a degree in healthcare administration. A program like the online MBA in healthcare management is the pinnacle of business and healthcare leadership education. It can be pursued at any number of the nation’s best business schools. Here are some steps to consider when considering this degree:

  1. Research Business Schools
    An hour’s online search can reveal many informative truths about business schools and advanced healthcare management degrees. Make a list of the programs that sound interesting and that you want more information on.
  2. Contact a Program Counselor
    Business schools staff counselors who work with admissions representatives. These professionals can answer all questions asked and will work to find answers they may not automatically know.
  3. Interview an Alum
    Business schools also keep tabs on successful graduates working in the healthcare management field. Finding out what to expect from a student who has been through a program will speak volumes. Forming professional relationships with fellow business students may also prove valuable in the future.

While having free access to some of the best healthcare management courses in the country is incredible, it is nothing compared to pursuing a quality online advanced degree in healthcare management.

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