Rankings of graduate programs in health care management, such as the U.S. News & World Report Ranking of Best Health Care Management Programs are used by industry stakeholders to determine the “quality” of a program and its graduates. Such rankings have been criticized for their methodological shortcomings and lack of
relevant information for prospective students, faculty members, and employers to support better decision making in selecting programs most appropriate for their needs. Other than program rankings, accreditation status, and university affiliation, there are no other meaningful alternatives for assessing health care management graduate programs in the United States in relationship to all other programs.
The aim of this study is to describe the application of a sequential mixed methods approach for studying and understanding the 76 graduate programs in health care management accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). This methodological approach can be used to assess academic degree programs anywhere and in any discipline. The research questions addressed include: (1) What explicit criteria and evaluative processes are
used when considering CAHME accredited programs in health care management? (2) How are CAHME accredited programs perceived by stakeholders? (3) What meaning is conveyed by a program?