Monday, 31 October 2011

Current Hospital Management Issues in the US

In the health care industry, hospital management has emerged as one of the most important areas within the industry because, as a discipline, it integrates medical, practical, social, and economic factors in ensuring the smooth and effective management of hospitals as the main sources of health care provision and services. According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), there are currently 5,708 registered hospitals throughout the US servicing over 37 million patients in a single year. The logistic requirements of overseeing such a huge sector of the health care industry require expert and professional management.
In addition, the AHA official guide to hospital listing requirements, it states that there must be a chief executive responsible for overseeing hospital operations in accordance with established policy. In this light, it is clear that ensuring the smooth delivery of services to patients entails proper hospital management.
As a discipline, hospital management has faced growing demands for high quality medical care and services, as well as facilities where these shall be undertaken. Hospital management serves as the direct link between healthcare facilities and the practitioners, staff, and companies providing the services and products needed to ensure smooth operation. As a highly demanding field, hospital management has faced several issues in the past. The ongoing search for solutions to improve the delivery of superior services to patients is a challenging and difficult task, especially when one considers the major issues involved.
Financial constraints 
With the economic downturn currently being felt across US industries, hospital management is also reeling from its effects. In fact, according to American College of Healthcare Executives' (ACHE) annual survey regarding issues faced by managers, financial problem is the top issue in hospital management today. Problems such as increased operational costs, the demand for more affordable services, and the like have seriously effected hospital management in unprecedented ways.
Ensuring patient safety and service quality 
Despite the financial considerations, a hospital manager must still ensure that the institution is capable of providing superior services to its patients. This aspect requires continuously identifying, conceptualizing, and implementing systems designed to ensure patient safety and service quality. For example, given the drastic limitations in budget, the dilemma is to provide the same level of service quality and patient safety and security at a lesser cost to the hospital.
Employee Satisfaction 
Apart from the above, third on the list is maintaining employee satisfaction. Given that hospital personnel are on the frontline of service provision, a hospital manager must keep the employees satisfied and motivate them to produce good work. This area requires a review of stress-inducing factors that heighten employee dissatisfaction. Steps must also be taken to address the issue of lack of control over one's duties and work schedules as well as the lack of access to the decision making process involving hospital personnel.
An effective hospital management system is one that expertly integrates various factors-economic, financial, social, and professional considerations-to maintain the quality of service and ensure the overall safety and security of its patients. In order to improve an existing management system, these important factors must be considered and ultimately, be addressed.
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