Thoughts and opinion from the wards
Attributes of Good Management Practice in Health Care Setting
Management is defined as the act and art of using resources efficiently in order to meet specific objectives. It is an inevitable practice in every business venture. As the world continues to evolve better ways of doing things, good management practice becomes increasingly useful to tackle emerging challenges in public and private sector including health care industry.
Pressure on Health Care System
The rising cost of health care services has put pressure on governments to review management practices in health care settings. The transition of global focus from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases has heightened the call for evidence-based management practices and not just the short-lived response of public health (Hunter, 2007). The success of the NHS reforms and the Obama health care plan for Americans rests on good management practices.
Every citizen has a right to health: it is a primary responsibility of government to cater for the welfare of its people. Health constitutes a large specter of this welfare chunk. It is therefore not unexpected that citizens' demand for quality services and social equity in health care is higher (Hunter, 2007). The information age has created a new generation of informed clients and patients who demand quality services. Public and private hospitals need to rise up to this challenge through efficient use of available human, technical and financial resources.
Good Management Practice in Health Care
A good manager develops strategic plans, organizes available resources, guides actions and behavior towards meeting objectives, rewards compliant productive output and tackles emerging challenges within the system (Green & Collins in Mernson, 2006). He monitors progress and adjusts the strategic plan to meet emerging needs (WHO, 2007). The attributes of good management practices are:
Strategic Planning: The first task of management is to develop a strategic plan with clear mission statement, aims and objectives, broken down into SMART goals and targets. There are long-term and short term plans. This drives the organizational culture and behavior. A notable global example is the Millennium Development goals; these include eight goals with specific deliverables by 2015.
Resource management: Human, technical and financial resources available for health care delivery are limited, and must therefore be managed efficiently. Specific needs are targeted, prioritized and met. The global fight against HIV/AIDS has been sustained since the pandemic ravaged the developed and developing world. United Nation and its agencies including the World Health Organization, international donors and national governments continue to fight this menace by putting to good use, available resources.
Flexible organizational structure: A good manager promotes interaction between different units of the health care system. In a hospital, he receives feedbacks from health care providers and patients/clients and encourages participation of staff unions in management meetings. This is the practice in a number of teaching hospitals in Nigeria. It is intended to maintain industrial harmony.
Change Management: Another attribute is change management through use of knowledge-based integration system (Bose, 20030. Each specialty in the health care delivery system is represented in a crossfunctional team: it is responsible for identifying areas of change, modus operandi for implementation and the appropriate organizational behavior that suits any proposed change. I have seen this type of team work in Hanoba Medical Centre, a private hospital I work as Medical Officer.
Evaluation and performance appraisal: another management practice is evaluation of impact and outputs. It is important to know the specific outcome (objectives met) generated from specified inputs (resources). How much has been achieved? How close are we to set targets? What gap exists between actual and real potentials of the organization? Has the utilization of resources been duly efficient? The findings and recommendations of this appraisal define the framework for redesign of the existing strategic plan, if there is any need.
Bose, R. (2003) 'Knowledge management-enabled healthcare management systems: capabilities, infrastructure, and decision-support', Expert Systems with Applications, 24(1), pp. 59–71
Charns, M.P. & Tewksbury, L.J.S. (1992) Collaborative Management in Health Care: Implementing the Integrative Organization. Lavoisier.
Green, A., Collins, C. (2006) ‘Management and Planning for public health’ in International Public Health: Diseases, Programs, Systems, and Policies. 2nd ed. Bartlett Publishers.
Hunter, D.J. (ed.) (2007) ‘Chapter 3: Exploring managing for health’, in Managing for Health. Oxford: Routledge.
WHO (2007) Working Paper No. 10: Towards Better Leadership and Management in Health; Report on an international consultation on strengthening leadership and management in low-income countries. [Online] Available at: www.who.intl/management/working_paper_10 (Accessed on: 14 April 2012).
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