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Woods College of Advancing Studies


The MHA curriculum consists of 13 required courses with no electives. These courses are described below.

Required Core Courses

Introduction to Healthcare Systems and Organizations – 4 credits

Provides students with an overview of healthcare services in the United States, including their historical development within a unique social, economic and political environment. Current institutional structures and delivery systems are described, as are the evolving health needs of Americans. Emphasis is placed upon the basic concepts and issues associated with the management and regulation of healthcare providers and the delivery of services.

Healthcare Quality Management – 4 credits

The course explores applications of quality improvement measures to the healthcare environment. Topics covered include an understanding of high reliability organizations, utilization review, risk management in healthcare, quality management, the use of outcomes research in improving patient care efficacy and safety, and performance management through training. This course is consistent with Lean Six Sigma (Green Belt) competencies and can partly contribute to preparation for the certification exam.

Healthcare Innovation-Based Strategy: Managing Change – 2 credits

The course reviews innovation-based strategies as a source of competitive advantage in an industry with strict regulation and limited financial resources, and then examines how to build and design organizations that excel at innovation. Students are given fundamentals of strategy and then engage, alongside industry and healthcare organizational leaders in Boston, in the basics every healthcare manager needs to organize successful innovation. This intensive short course is offered onsite at Boston College.

Health Policy – 4 credits

Federal and state-level healthcare policies affect a wide range of issues, including access to care, quality, cost, and modes of delivery. Effective healthcare managers must interpret and anticipate a changing policy landscape, and strategically apply that interpretation as part of the process of organizational planning and execution. In this course, the social and economic implications of contemporary healthcare policies are explored. Emphasis is placed on how public policy (e.g., Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act of 2010) influences human resources/capacity, values, needs, reimbursements and regulation of individuals, insurers, and medical and healthcare organizations.

Management Theory and Organizational Behavior – 4 credits

This course includes the application of management and organizational behavior theory to explore factors affecting behavior, performance and job satisfaction of people working in organizations. The course focuses on theories and observations of team behaviors and techniques, with special emphasis on the individual as a team member, and on change management as a challenge and opportunity for healthcare organizations. Students will learn and apply best practices for managing individuals and teams within healthcare organizations.

Leadership in Healthcare – 4 credits

The course introduces leadership models, theories, and skills needed to successfully manage and lead healthcare organizations through transformational versus transactional leadership-styles. Students use a variety of self-assessment tools (e.g., Myers-Briggs, SWOT analysis of self, leadership-style inventory) to develop self-awareness and to better understand the role of emotional intelligence in effective leadership. Students gain knowledge and skills for building and growing the interpersonal relationships and political skills required to develop and lead teams, and to successfully advance from organizational management roles to leadership roles.

Healthcare Human Resources Management – 4 credits

Human resources issues face the healthcare managers, from benefits to grievances to labor relations management in health organizations with organized labor. This course covers personnel practices such as job analysis and description, recruitment, selection, and compensation in various health delivery system settings. The course focuses on skill development in dealing with personnel at all levels of education, licensure and skill sets.

Healthcare Information Technology – 4 credits

This course explores the critical role of e-health and information systems in the planning, operation, and management of healthcare organizations. Students will learn how to assess and evaluate health information systems and business requirements in a variety of settings such as health systems, hospitals and medical practices. Students will develop skills in healthcare technology implementation design that addresses such industry-specific requirements as translating HIPAA and other regulations into specific technology decisions while implementing medical systems (EMR, lab, clinical services, medical database providers, etc.). In addition, students will learn how to manage multi-institutional relationships as they are expressed in technology implementations, including the many vendor configurations but also cross-provider organization relationships. Specific topics include data and systems integrations, communications protocols, security standards, procurement, and authentication and authorization.

Healthcare Law – 2 credits

In this course, legal issues related to the organization and delivery of healthcare are examined. Topics include government regulation of healthcare facilities and occupations, civil rights regulations regarding diversity, fraud and abuse, institutional and personal liability for negligence and malpractice, patient consent requirements, termination of care, confidentiality of medical information, medical staff credentialing, peer review of care, utilization review, and managed care regulations. Student will apply course concepts through the development of a compliance plan to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in billing.

Healthcare Ethics – 2 credits

In this course, ethical and moral considerations associated with the management of healthcare facilities and the provision of health services are examined. Treatment of ethical and moral issues emphasize the understanding of diverse viewpoints and methods for resolving conflicting moral obligations. Student apply course concepts through the exercises and cases in ethical decision making for leaders of healthcare organizations.

Health Analytics  – 4 credits

In today’s highly competitive healthcare environment, data-driven decision making is key to assuring quality, increasing access, and minimizing cost. In an industry focused on evidence-based practices, healthcare managers must be able to use analytic tools and methods to critically evaluate care and practice to better inform decisions. Tomorrow’s leaders must be able to make decisions based on research, evidence, and data to inform continuous improvement and innovation. The course will review data analysis principles and statistical analysis (e.g., probability, regression modeling, decision science, predictive forecasting, and time series analysis. Students will conduct data analyses and use results to make decisions. Students will focus on how to analyze and interpret data to optimize the decision-making process and assure evidence-based management practice.

Healthcare Financial Management – 4 credits

This course introduces basic theory and principles of finance as applied to the healthcare industry. Financial statements, cost measurement, budgeting, capital investment decisions and reimbursement models are explored. Students are given an overview of health economic concepts (e.g., sustainability), and are introduced to performance-based payments and value purchasing concepts.

Strategic Planning and Marketing – 4 credits

Decisions involving strategy and marketing must be based on a manager’s overall understanding of the organization’s mission, goals and objectives. This applied research project provides methods to evaluate organizational performance and productivity, analyze internal and external resources, and perform needs assessment. The course presents various models and methods for planning, branding, and positioning of healthcare services. It also emphasizes the importance of creating a strategic planning process.

As the culmination and synthesis of the program experience, the applied research project requires each individual student to develop a business plan for the expansion of or development of a new healthcare facility. The business plan must address the major themes of each prior course, including relevant policies, quality initiatives, financial planning, human resource planning, technology planning, and planning for regulatory compliance.

Refresher Modules (no academic credit)

The following module is available to all students who would like a refresher in this content area before entering specific courses. This module is recommended for all students, but may be required for some.

Overview of Statistical Principles – 0 credits

Provides students with basic introduction to statistical principles, from summary statistics to linear regression analysis, to serve as a pre-requisite for the Quality Management course. This course is strongly recommended for those without college-level statistics.