Top 7 Challenges Faced by Healthcare Leaders


The healthcare industry is a growing field with rising employment opportunities nationwide. Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare institutions are in need of qualified professionals to run the operational and business aspects of these organizations. Spring Arbor University’s online MBA in Healthcare Administration tackles modern complexities in healthcare from an ethical, Christian perspective. In today’s article, we’ll be addressing the question: what are the top healthcare challenges in 2019?


1. Administrators Need to Understand Data

The business skills of understanding data and statistics are necessary to grasp the scale of the problem and whether a solution is working. Data and statistics are important in all aspects of business as they lead to insights, thorough analysis, and risk mitigation.

In fact, organizations that are driven by data are three times more likely to report substantial improvements in their decision-making process, according to PwC Global Data and Analytics Survey.


2. Healthcare Administrators Strive to Balance the Needs of Patients with the Business Side of Medical Providers

The networks of care through both private and government-backed forms of insurance are always changing. A challenge for administrators is to create a value system like the rest of the business world where patients get the best care for their insurance dollars. 

For example, it helps to manage healthcare costs by matching patient needs with only the necessary tests that need to be performed to diagnosis a medical condition. 

A less sophisticated test that can still provide accurate information about an illness or an injury may be affordable, such as opting for an x-ray when only basic structural imaging is needed rather than using an MRI scan (which is a more elaborate and expensive imaging technique.) 

In terms of medication, a generic prescription drug is typically more affordable than its name brand counterpart. There are countless ways to provide effective treatment while cutting down medical costs.


3. Healthcare is Becoming Multi-Dimensional

Medical systems are becoming more complex and taking a holistic approach to addressing patient needs. Rather than just focusing on immediate problems, healthcare leaders are improving care by creating integrated processes that tend to a patient’s medical, emotional, social, and environmental well-being. 

For instance, staff may notice that a patient who is being treated for cancer could benefit from additional support, such as meeting with a cancer survivor to discuss their shared experience. 

Holistic treatment for this patient could also include receiving professional counseling to help with anxiety and depression, and seeing a nutritionist to provide a nutrition plan to help treat their condition.


4. Another Challenge for Healthcare Leadership is a Lack of Staff

There will be an estimated shortage of 100,000 providers by 2030. Healthcare administrators will be faced with hiring and scheduling in a field where there are not enough providers to meet the medical needs of the public.

Healthcare is also a field where a series of proper credentials are needed to perform each role (unlike other fields where candidates can be hired and learn skills on the job); as a result, options are limited to help remedy internal challenges from being short-staffed.


5. The Physician Shortage is Happening While Baby Boomers Add to the Number of Senior Citizens

In the USA, 1 out of 5 people will be age 65 or older by 2030. Future demand for healthcare is expected to surpass the available supply of providers. The medical field will need to adapt to an increased number of aging patients.

As health complications tend to rise with age, providers will also be faced with more frequent visits from elderly patients with ongoing medical conditions. Healthcare leadership must transform to meet complex patient needs at a lowered capacity.


6. Computer Literacy is Important in Managing Healthcare Organizations

Understanding how patients relate to current technology adds a dimension to medical care that did not exist in prior decades. Administrators must oversee how systems work and meet the needs of today’s healthcare consumer.

Most patients use digital payment systems, so online portals must be secure. Backing up and safeguarding an organization’s digitized patient records is important. Administrators are also involved to ensure healthcare payment systems are secure from hacking attempts.


7. One of the Biggest Problems Facing Healthcare Today is the Opioid Crisis

Drug overdoses are currently the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than 130 people a day die from opioid overdose in 2019.

Heroin and other street drug overdoses are also on the rise as many who struggle with street-drug addiction have a history of prescription drug abuse, specifically narcotics and opioids. Healthcare organizations are working to save lives during this crisis.

The medical, mental health, and law enforcement fields are absorbing emergency treatment of patients who are experiencing drug overdoses, as well as creating treatment plans to help people break their addiction to opioids.

To lessen the rate of addiction, the healthcare industry is working to inform the public about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.


Change Healthcare as an Ethical Leader 

The challenges faced by medical teams today require educated leaders to solve. In addition to learning how to navigate modern challenges in business, Healthcare Administration MBA students learn:

  • Trends in Healthcare Administration & Management 
  • Managerial Finance in Healthcare 
  • Managing Quality in Healthcare 


Spring Arbor offers a robust academic curriculum rooted in the ethical teachings of Christ. Impact the future of healthcare— earn your online MBA in Healthcare Administration.

Read our blog on Why You Should Earn an MBA in Healthcare Administration

Get the information you need. Download the program guide.


Etehad, Melissa and Kyle Kim (July 18, 2017). The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country — but not with better health outcomes. Taken from

Gingiss, Dan (July 11, 2019). Why An Aging Population Means Healthcare Customer Experience Must Adapt. Taken from

Meola, Andrew (July 18, 2019). The aging population in the US is causing problems for our healthcare costs. Taken from

National Institute on Drug Abuse (January 2019). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Taken from

PwC's Global Data and Analytics Survey, Global, “Big Decisions™,” base: 1,135 senior executives, May 2016. Accessed 11 July 2019 from:

Staff Writers (June 13, 2018). Top 5 Challenges Healthcare Administrators Face in the Year Ahead. Taken from

Staff Writers (April 8, 2019). How Big Tech is Disruption Big Healthcare. Taken from

Stewart, Angie (September 25, 2018). The top 10 challenges healthcare executives anticipate for 2019. Taken from ]

Thompson, Derek (January 9, 2018). Health Care Just Became the U.S.'s Largest Employer. Taken from