Hospitals and managed care: catching up with the networks.
Although the growth of managed care is having a significant impact on hospitals, organizational response to managed care remains fragmented. We conducted a survey of 83 hospitals nationwide that indicated that most hospitals now have at least one person devoted to managed care initiatives. These individuals, however, often spend most of their time on current issues, such as contracting with managed care organizations and physician relations. Concerns for the future, such as network development and marketing, although important, receive less immediate attention form these individuals. Hospital managed care executives must take a more proactive role in long range managed care planning by collaborating with managed care organizations and pharmaceutical companies. (+info)
Perceptions on the influence of cost issues on quality improvement initiatives: a survey of Saudi health care managers.
OBJECTIVE: To determine (i) the cost issues which Saudi health care managers perceive to influence overall quality improvement initiatives, and (ii) the relationship between health care managers' satisfaction with such initiatives and their perceptions regarding the influence of different cost issues on the overall quality improvement initiatives. DESIGN: Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire in August and September 1996 in the Western Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The participants were 236 health care managers of private hospitals. Data was analysed using the chi2 test. RESULTS: Less than one-half of the health care managers surveyed were satisfied with their hospitals' overall quality improvement initiatives. The issue that was rated to have the most influence on such initiatives was the 'cost of malpractice lawsuits' followed by the budget for the quality assurance programme'. The issue that was perceived to have the least influence on overall quality improvement initiatives was 'data on cost allocation'. Of the 17 cost issues included in the study, eight had statistically significant influence on the health care managers' satisfaction with their hospitals' overall quality improvement initiatives. The most statistically significant was the 'measurement of the costs of quality-related actions'. (+info)
Promoting effective practice in secondary care.
BACKGROUND: This qualitative study aimed to explore the views of key stakeholders regarding the role that public health professionals have or should have in the provision of effective health care within the National Health Service. METHODS: A national (England) questionnaire survey generated a sample for qualitative telephone interviews and two site case studies. The interviews were conducted in three stages: first, 27 interviews were based on assessed reported levels of organizational activity, including non-respondents; next, views in six areas were consolidated by extra interviews; finally, two extra areas were visited for individual and group interviews. The interviews were analysed for salient themes. RESULTS: There was a widespread view that public health had not delivered its potential. Many Trusts currently wanted public health to have influence over commissioning, provide health needs assessments and epidemiological skills, and provide a strategic focus and unbiased advice. Evaluation of actual activity varied widely; local history and congruent personalities seemed to be associated with perceived success. In some cases there was mutual suspicion between Health Authorities and Trusts. Public health was often perceived by Trusts to have been marginalized. This perception was not shared by Public Health Consultants, who highlighted lack of resources as a reason for lack of involvement. The contribution of public health professionals working in Trusts was highly regarded. Barriers included overcoming initial prejudice and combating isolation within Trusts. There were four categories of response in respect of the potential future role for public health in implementing effective health care: no role; collaborative working between Health Authority Public Health Departments and Trusts; deployment of public health workers within Trusts, and an undecided group. Overall, the skills of public health, especially strategic vision and population perspectives, were seen as valuable but as yet unrealized. CONCLUSIONS: Public health skills (but not necessarily professionals) may be valuable in implementing effective health care in Trusts. However, public health professionals must refocus and market their skills to Trusts if the discipline is to play a key role in this task. (+info)
Public release of performance data and quality improvement: internal responses to external data by US health care providers.
Health policy in many countries emphasises the public release of comparative data on clinical performance as one way of improving the quality of health care. Evidence to date is that it is health care providers (hospitals and the staff within them) that are most likely to respond to such data, yet little is known about how health care providers view and use these data. Case studies of six US hospitals were studied (two academic medical centres, two private not-for-profit medical centres, a group model health maintenance organisation hospital, and an inner city public provider "safety net" hospital) using semi-structured interviews followed by a broad thematic analysis located within an interpretive paradigm. Within these settings, 35 interviews were held with 31 individuals (chief executive officer, chief of staff, chief of cardiology, senior nurse, senior quality managers, and front line staff). The results showed that key stakeholders in these providers were often (but not always) antipathetic towards publicly released comparative data. Such data were seen as lacking in legitimacy and their meanings were disputed. Nonetheless, the public nature of these data did lead to some actions in response, more so when the data showed that local performance was poor. There was little integration between internal and external data systems. These findings suggest that the public release of comparative data may help to ensure that greater attention is paid to the quality agenda within health care providers, but greater efforts are needed both to develop internal systems of quality improvement and to integrate these more effectively with external data systems. (+info)
Can evidence change the rate of back surgery? A randomized trial of community-based education.
CONTEXT: Timely adoption of clinical practice guidelines is more likely to happen when the guidelines are used in combination with adjuvant educational strategies that address social as well as rational influences. OBJECTIVE: To implement the conservative, evidence-based approach to low-back pain recommended in national guidelines, with the anticipated effect of reducing population-based rates of surgery. DESIGN: A randomized, controlled trial. SETTING: Ten communities in western Washington State with annual rates of back surgery above the 1990 national average (158 operations per 100,000 adults). PARTICIPANTS: Spine surgeons, primary care physicians, patients who were surgical candidates, and hospital administrators. INTERVENTION: The five communities randomized to the intervention group received a package of six educational activities tailored to local needs by community planning groups. Surgeon study groups, primary care continuing medical education conferences, administrative consensus processes, videodisc-aided patient decision making, surgical outcomes management, and generalist academic detailing were serially implemented over a 30-month intervention period. OUTCOME MEASURE: Quarterly observations of surgical rates. RESULTS: After implementation of the intervention, surgery rates declined in the intervention communities but increased slightly in the control communities. The net effect of the intervention is estimated to be a decline of 20.9 operations per 100,000, a relative reduction of 8.9% (P = 0.01). CONCLUSION: We were able to use scientific evidence to engender voluntary change in back pain practice patterns across entire communities. (+info)
Theoretical and perceived balance of power inside Spanish public hospitals.
BACKGROUND: The hierarchical pyramid inside Spanish public hospitals was radically changed by the Health Reform Law promulgated in 1986. According to it, the manpower of the hospitals was divided into three divisions (Medical, Nursing, General Services/Administration), which from then on occupied the same level, only subject to the general manager. Ten years after the implementation of the law, the present study was designed in order to investigate if the legal changes had indeed produced a real change in the balance of power inside the hospitals, as perceived by the different workers within them. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A questionnaire was administered to 1,027 workers from four different public hospitals (two university-based and two district hospitals). The participants belonged to all divisions, and to all three operative levels (staff, supervisory and managerial) within them. The questionnaire inquired about the perceived power inside each division and hierarchical level, as well as about that of the other divisions and hierarchical levels. RESULTS: Every division attributed the least power to itself. The Nursing and the Administrative division attributed the highest power to the physicians, and these attributed the highest power to the General Services/Administrative division. All hierarchical levels (including the formal top of the pyramid) attributed significantly more power to the other than to them. CONCLUSIONS: More than ten years after the implementation of the new law, the majority of workers still perceive that the real power within the hospitals is held by the physicians (whereas these feel that it has shifted to the administrators). No division or hierarchical level believes it holds any significant degree of power, and this carries with it the danger of also not accepting any responsibility. (+info)
Continuous quality improvement: educating towards a culture of clinical governance.
The National Health Service in England and Wales has recently adopted a policy aimed at embedding continuous quality improvement (CQI) at all levels and across all services. The key goal is to achieve changes in practice which improve patient outcomes. This paper describes the use of a training course for multiprofessional groups of participants tailored to offer them relevant knowledge, management and team working skills, and approaches to personal and career development. These were intended to assist them in changing their practice for the benefit of patients. The participants rated the course highly in fulfilling its objectives. One cohort followed up for 6 months named changes in practice which related specifically to learning from the course. This paper shows the important contribution of multiprofessional learning to CQI and presents a useful method of evaluating links between learning and performance. (+info)
A job with a view: perspectives from the corporate side of the hospital.
A change in job responsibilities from library manager to hospital administrator provides this year's Doe lecturer the opportunity to reflect on the values of the library profession from a fresh perspective. Librarians play a unique role and remain vital to the health care enterprise but are frequently misunderstood. Their role can be viewed from three angles: service, technology, and a unique sort of professionalism. Librarians must focus their service priorities on the needs of the institution, while remaining true to their own unique professional values. They must be advocates for the appropriate use of technology in support of those service roles. The passion that many librarians bring to their jobs makes librarianship a vocation as much as a profession. The mission and vision developed by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists in 2001 provides a useful model for defining a personal professional mission and vision. (+info)