Good Information Supports Better Healthcare - Informatics Matters
Reshaping Healthcare Organizations for 21st Century Healthcare; or "If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got"
13th March 2012
The majority of organizations in our modern commercial world are focused on delivering financial profit, they are often called "enterprises". How does a healthcare system fit into this framework and can it, too, be described as an enterprise?
A healthcare system will be comprised of someone who pays for the care (a government, an insurer, or the people who receive care) and a range of providers, healthcare organizations who deliver hospital care, specialist services, or more generalized healthcare services.
A healthcare system, where healthcare is publicly funded, will typically have a strategy focused around the objectives of:
Even in a privately funded system these objectives will lead to higher profits and more satisfied stakeholders.
So, in this respect healthcare systems are a form of "enterprise". And, just as effective leaders actively consider the way that their organizations are structured, led, and managed to meet the challenges identified in their strategies, so must we consider how the "architecture" of the healthcare enterprise will support it to achieve its strategic objectives.
Transformational change and enterprise architecture
There is an old adage that goes something along the lines of "if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got". When healthcare enterprises attempt to transition from industrial age organizations to information age enterprises they must consider not just the technology that will be required, but also how their strategy, culture, leadership, people, and organizational structure might support that development.
Often healthcare enterprises have high hopes that, by introducing computerised information systems, and teaching people to use them, they will rapidly transform the healthcare that they provide.
Too often there is then an expectation that change will be delivered to the enterprise by the technology, the purveyors of the technology, or those entrusted with making the technology work. This expectation is always unmet and there can be a long, and often painful learning curve to the realization that 21st century tools, don't automatically lead to the knowledge-based organisation that was, perhaps, envisaged.
The issue is much broader and encompasses a range of concepts which are interconnected and interdependent. Understanding of those concepts and ideas are vital in order to achieve successful, and truly transformational, change.
Some questions that governance boards might ask Chief Executives when aspiring to transformational change
Although there are many common threads, each organisation is unique, it’s design, structure and work ethics are affected by a diverse range of local, internal and external influences. Hence there isn't a one-size-fits-all model for achieving, leading and delivering transformational change. Instead there is a range of issues that might be considered.
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Copyright 2012 André Snoxall.