Health Care Management
If you are dealing with these challenges:
You face a dynamic industry, under different types of pressures because of the social, political and economic context;
You face an increased demand for quality health services at optimized costs;
You face the lack of resources and the customers’ value for money request;
You face changes in the social patterns such as population age or morbidity patterns;
You face an increased chronic illness that becomes more difficult to handle;
For sure you are facing the health care system: an organization, institution or group of professionals which is in charge with improving health. This implies various resources, which can be easily identified: personnel, money, information, communication, research and development, transport, management (World Health Organization, “What is Health System”).
Health Care System – Organizations in which the Management System should be applied
Health care is hence a wide domain, which contains all of these areas. Considering that they all face similar challenges, a healthcare management should be applied to all of these areas. In this respect, a healthcare management should focus on analyzing the context and delivering a plan for answering the identified problems. In the analyzes of the context, there should be examined: the teams, the processes involved in the daily work within the health care system, the communication within the system, the obstacles and the common goals of the people and the institutions involved in this system.
“No team functions in isolation” (Harris, 2006, p. 141). This is to say that first of all the activity or the actions of each member of a specific team affects the rest of the team; second, each team from the health system, through its activity, impacts the other teams in the system.
This means that the functions of each team must be clearly known among the other teams, as well as their schedules, in order for each of them to know who to interact with in different situations and in what timeframe. This implies the implementation of a working process, the existence of strict working procedures and schedules, and the application of this process within teams.
Buchbinder and Shanks identified the FOCUS plan that is usually applied in the health care system, consisting of:
Finding ways to identify a health process problem;
Organize a team to be responsible of that process (training the people involved in that team by improving their skills and offering them the needed tools);
Clarify the expected results and the obtained ones, through designing a flowchart;
Understanding the follow up of the process problem by measuring it, collecting data and be benchmarking it;
Select solutions to determent process improvement that will be implemented in the following processes (2012).
This process that should be applied in the care system, in order for the functions to run smoothly, should be sustained and supported by an active and assertive communication between teams. Within the care system, teams need guidance, training, communication, information and resources to properly handle their jobs. These items are inter-related and if any of these is missing, there might be a breakdown in the system’s performance (Harris, 2006).
Delivering information efficiently from one team to another within the health care system can make the difference between saving a life and losing a life. If one care assistant fails in transferring one information that he/she receives, regarding one patient’s health condition, this can cost the patient’s life. This miscommunication can occur because of the overcharged schedule, or because of the lack of qualified personnel (ASHRM, 2011; Scott, 2006).
In this case, the health care management should come up with a specific training program, which, besides a clear definition of the teams’ functions, should include a communication flux. Therefore, the communication and the training are specific items that along with a good planning of the activities (such as the FOCUS plan) should be integrated in the health care management, for delivering successful results.
ASHRM (American Society for healthcare Risk Management) (2011) Risk management handbook for health care organizations. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: San Francisco.
Buchbinder, S. & Shanks, N. (2012) Introduction to health care management. Jobes & Bartless Learning: Ontario.
Harris, M., G. (2006) Managing health services: concepts and practices. Elsevier: Australia.
Scott, R., W. (2006) Legal aspects of documenting patient care for rehabilitation professionals. Jones and Bartless Publishers: Ontario.
World Health Organization (2005) What is a health system. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/qa/28/en/index.html.