1. Improving patient wait time
Patient wait time is one of the key determinants of ambulatory care efficiency as it is directly related to the speed of care delivery. When the ambulatory clinic is able to improve the patient wait time, the gap between time that patient reaches the clinic and time that care is delivered to him is minimized. Improving ‘nurse to patient ratio’ is a better strategy to reduce patient wait time and to enhance patient satisfaction. In addition, the organization can improve its patients wait time by promoting team work and by effective distribution of work tasks among the staff.
2. Improving Case Note Management
It is obvious that different ways of managing case notes will certainly lead to delayed care, duplication in information gathering, and ultimately patient dissatisfaction. In response to this issue, it is advisable for the ambulatory clinic to establish a centralized outpatient case notes system, which is capable of enhancing the speed of care delivery. With the support of this centralized system, the caregivers can respond quickly to emergency health scenarios and thereby improve the patient safety and the quality of patient outcomes.
3. Promoting flexible work
Evidently, promoting flexible work would contribute significantly to staff satisfaction and minimize the probability of issues such as medical errors and other negligent medical practices. Researchers indicate that providing a flexible work environment can assist modern health organizations to improve their staff turnover rate and cut down operating costs. Hence, a flexible work strategy seems to be really applicable to this ambulatory setting.
B. Measures of Effectiveness
1. Limiting new and return appointments
If the ambulatory clinic manages to limit the new and return appointments through improving its staff efficiency and care quality, this situation would assist the organization to reduce its pressure on the service delivery and thereby achieve increased patient satisfaction. It is clear that inappropriate patient visits may notably reduce patient access to the care services by increasing waiting times. By limiting the new and return appointments, more number of patients will be able to access the ambulatory care services. Finally, this policy can benefit the organization to enhance its health reputation and to add to its stakeholder values.
2. Improving the utilization of outpatient appointments
Evidences suggest that an outpatient care setting can improve its productivity and effectiveness through utilizing outpatient appointments more effectively. As many previous studies point out, a combination of group medical appointments, electronic health records, and a well-structured reminder system can significantly reduce the number of patients failing to attend.
3. Periodical staff training
The health care technologies and medical trends have been undergoing revolutionary changes over the last few decades and hence it would be better for the ambulatory clinic to make necessary arrangement for facilitating periodical staff training. Such a training policy can assist the ambulatory care to keep its staffers informed of the latest medical trends and recent advancements in the health care technologies. Evidently, when the staff is up to date with latest and improved treatment techniques, they can deliver high quality care.
Globalization, power, followership, and cultural change
Globalization has played a notable role in changing the overall structure of the global healthcare environment as this concept contributed to enhanced cross border flow of people and cultures. In addition, the emergence of globalization improved people’s collaborativeness and consequently the situation increased their vulnerability to epidemic and infectious diseases. According to the WHO Policy framework, in the perspective of a healthcare leader, there has been a shift in power over the last few decades that the focus of the health sector has shifted from physician-centered care to patient-centered care (“People Centered health care:”).
Today, patients are the supreme power that determines the nature and scope of health care delivery and clinical experience. However, this patient power sometimes becomes an obstacle to delivering superior quality care and enhancing patient safety. When it comes to followership in the modern health care, it is identified that a notable percent of the staff/physicians are passive followers who do not actively engage with their organization and do not apply independent critical thinking. Those followers may become a burden for the leader and the whole team. Finally, the modern health care facilities are characterized with increased cultural diversity, and hence those settings are highly prone to serious cultural conflicts. In this context, health care institutions would fail to enhance patient safety and final patient outcomes unless they are able to provide culturally competent care to the audience.
Global health issues
The following are the three major global health issues that have impacted the U.S. health care system over the last years.
Spread of lifestyle diseases
Nurse staff shortage
In a close evaluation, all these three global health issues have been challenging the efficiency and effectiveness of the US health care system. As Tavernise writes in the New York Times, in the United States, a growing fast food culture coupled with a sedimentary lifestyle has contributed significantly to the increased prevalence of lifestyle health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and a range of cardiovascular diseases. The consumption of high-calorie, low nutrient food is the major problem leading to the rising rates of obesity and other chronic lifestyle diseases in the US. Evidently, this issue adds to the health costs of the US federal government. In addition, since most of the lifestyle diseases are chronic in nature, the victims suffer a series of physical and mental problems throughout their lifetime.
Similarly, aging population is another global health issue that has affected the US health care sector. As Forbes article written by Kotkin and Cox suggests, the senior population of the US has increased 29% since 2000 whereas the overall population growth during this period was only 12%. As economic theories point out, the aging population adversely affects the productivity as well as the health costs of the country. Since aged people are more vulnerable to developing different kinds of diseases, an aging population becomes a potential challenge to the US health care system. Physicians state that the incredible growth in the country’s senior population over the last decade has increased patient wait time and the number of new and returning appointments.
Finally, nurse staff shortage also appears be a potential threat to the future scope of the US health care system. According to Williams, it is clear that the global nurse population represents a huge percent of women staff, many of whom tend to leave the nursing profession after marriage so as to meet their family responsibilities (“The nursing shortage..”). This trend reduced the number of experienced nurses in the US health care, and the situation in turn affected care quality and patient experience to a great extent. In addition, this situation adds to the staff recruitment and training costs of the US federal government.
Global leadership in the constructs of transformational leadership
Transformational leadership simply refers to a leadership style where the leader attempts to identify the change needed; inspires the followers to achieve the change planned; and executes the change in cooperation with the committed team members. Evidences suggest that transformational leaders are likely to possess any or all of the characteristics such as extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The similarities and differences in the global leadership style could be explained within the constructs of transformational leadership. It is observed that a successful global leader has great inquisitiveness and hence he will be open to new experiences or curious about anything new in his everyday life. Like a transformation leader, a global leader is expected to consider the multiple viewpoints of his followers because he needs to manage employees from different countries and cultures. Finally, a global leader must have a natural concern for others’ needs.
Culture and diversity on modern health care organization
As discussed already, the trend of cultural diversity is growing in the modern health care environment as a result of increasing cross border flow of people. Family structure/obligations, language barriers, and communication differences are the three critical elements of culture and diversity influencing modern health care organizations. Countries like US and UK are an agglomeration of different culture, and hence cultural diversity is a growing trend in these countries. People from different cultures/countries will have different family structure/obligations, which is a major factor affecting patient care and treatment outcomes. In the context of growing cultural diversity in the health care environment, it would be difficult for physicians to respond to patient needs effectively unless they are informed of the family structure/obligations of the clients from different cultures. As a result of increasing cultural diversity, physicians may need to encounter clients speaking different languages. If the client is unable to speak globally recognized languages like English, the physician cannot understand the client’s health conditions clearly. Evidently, this situation would lead to poor patient experience and declined health outcomes. Finally, communication barriers constitute another obstacle to efficient care delivery stemming from cultural diversity. To justify, the meaning of the same facial expressions may be different from culture to culture, and hence physicians dealing with a culturally diverse patient population would often find it difficult to understand what the clients are trying to communicate actually.
In the fast changing modern healthcare environment, the health providers must be cognizant of the following list of cultural attributes
Willpower and other mental abilities
Adaption to preventive care
Changing food pattern and sedimentary lifestyle
Global leadership differences
In terms of the use of power, global leaders may adopt different leadership approaches while operating in a global context. Some global leaders, like an autocratic leader, may rely on excessive use of managerial power to supervise their followers as they hold the view that they know everything better than their employees. In contrast, some others foster employee involvement as they believe that collective efforts are the key to promoting better decision making and enhanced operating outcomes. Similarly, it seems that young and innovative global leaders usually depend more on technological advancements to meet their strategic goals whereas traditional global leaders trust more in manual labor and conventional technologies. There are notable global leadership differences in terms of knowledge management too. Different global leaders use different approaches to achieve their organizational objectives by making the best use of the knowledge resources available.
Democratic leadership and charismatic leadership are the two potential leadership styles for implementing change. Democratic leaders encourage discussion, debates, and sharing of ideas within the team so as to generate creative ideas and to give followers a sense of involvement. This leadership strategy can be suitable for implementing change because the leader fosters collective team efforts to achieve the change desired. Kelly states that charismatic leaders have deep knowledge in their area of work, a self-promoting personality, and high energy level (9). As charismatic leaders are willing to take risk and employ non-conventional strategies for motivating their employees, they would be successful at implementing the change proposed.
Kotkin, Joel and Cox, Wendell. “Aging America: The U.S. Cities Going Gray The Fastest”. Forbes, (2014). Web http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2014/10/30/aging-america-the-u-s-cities-going-gray-the-fastest/ (accessed 1 July 2014).
Kelly, Patricia. Nursing Leadership & Management. US: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
“People Centered health care: A policy framework. WHO, 2007. http://www.wpro.who.int/health_services/people_at_the_centre_of_care/documents/ENG-PCIPolicyFramework.pdf
Tavernise, Sabrina. “Global Diabetes Rates Are Rising as Obesity Spreads”. The New York Times, June 8, 2015. Web http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/health/research/global-diabetes-rates-are-rising-as-obesity-spreads.html?_r=1
Williams, David. “The nursing shortage: Why it isn’t a good time to become a nurse”. Web. accessed 1 July 2014 http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/02/nursing-shortage-good-time-nurse.html