The Innovation Imperative in Health Care Organisations
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The Innovation Imperative in Health Care Organisations

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

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.
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Chapter 1: Background and context

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


Health care typically comprises the largest single budget allocation for most countries. Furthermore the costs of providing good quality health care are predicted to increase substantially over the next decade. This pressure has been exacerbated by the global financial crisis and health care systems have come under intense pressure to lower (or at least contain) costs and to increase ‘productivity’. Managing health care is an international challenge (Letiche 2008; Institute for the Future 2005). Irrespective of the particular health system in each country, issues such as aging population, changing disease patterns, costly technologies and rising public expectations are common. To describe it as a crisis suggests it is emergent and specific, yet authors such as Sahney and Warden (1991) and Shortell (1992) were raising the same concerns some 20 years ago. Perhaps what is new today is that the crisis is more urgent and a response is needed.

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