Table of Contents

The Innovation Imperative in Health Care Organisations

The Innovation Imperative in Health Care Organisations

Critical Role of Human Resource Management in the Cost, Quality and Productivity Equation

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Peter Spurgeon, Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper

Health systems in the western world face increasingly intense pressure to contain or reduce costs, while countries such as China and India move towards universal coverage. The contributors illustrate that radical gains in efficiency and innovative practice are required internationally in health care systems. They argue that the high proportion of health care system costs invested in staffing place the human resource function at the forefront of meeting this challenge. Sustained system change and productivity gains, more effective management of staff and work climate are essential elements of reform and are all covered in this book.

Chapter 3: Raising quality and reducing costs – in one improvement?

John Øvretveit

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, economics and finance, health policy and economics, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics

Extract

Cost saving may motivate health managers and policy-makers, but it is not top of the list for most people who work in health services. Important motivators for many are avoiding doing harm to patients, and the satisfaction of a job well done, which is recognised as such by patients, colleagues and management. Some personnel are motivated to learn about and use quality improvement methods and to take part in programmes to improve quality. In part this motivation comes from a recognition that the organisations and systems supporting their work often get in the way, or worse. Quality improvement methods help to reorganise work to serve patients better. For many personnel, being involved in a well-managed quality project can add to their work satisfaction and lead to new careers. Human resource managers have a key role to play in making improvement more part of everyday work in health care and in enabling more health care staffto contribute. This chapter is not about how to do these things – which is well described elsewhere (Langley et al. 1996; NIII, 2006, 2010a, 2010b). Rather it is about selecting quality improvement changes that can also reduce waste and costs. The reason for this focus is that it is by choosing changes that are believed to improve the quality of patient care and reduce waste that the widespread support can be gained which is needed to carry through significant improvements. Such ‘value improvements’ unite management, clinical professionals and other health service staffand are more likely to be fully implemented (Øvretveit 2009b).

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