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 17: Concluding comments

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


Each reader will take from each chapter in this text whatever resonates with them and whatever he/she sees as meaningful to their own context and way of thinking. These final comments represent only what we consider to be important by abstraction from the range of topics and disciplines covered here. Our aim was to consider how the virtually universal challenge of financial constraint upon health systems could be met whilst maintaining (or improving) the quality of service provision and meeting the steadily rising demands and expectations. Health care delivery is heavily dependent upon its staff/employees and so the human resources function, in its widest sense, should be making an important contribution to meeting the challenge. Perhaps a particular challenge identified was that of providing much more evidence of the link between the use of good HR techniques and organisational performance. A few examples exist in the literature (Ferlie and Shortell 2001; Harris et al. 2007) but the value of HR as a mediator of performance has not yet become mainstream thinking in the health sector. Under pressure organisations are much more likely to turn to their finance department than their OD specialist. Yet flexible and new ways of utilising the skills in the workforce aligned to changing work practices via modern technology may well be a much more effective way of producing large-scale savings.

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