This consultant proposal is intended to improve the cost-effectiveness, team building, patient satisfaction, error percentage and other pressing problems of healthcare industry. The solutions for the discovered problems are provided, basing upon the extended usage of IT technology and Human Resource enhancements.
The team of consultants the manager is going to work with will preferably consist of the specialists that have been with this hospital for a while. It is not reasonable to replace any highly qualified specialists that have certain experience with this particular medical institution. In case the team of specialists is not efficient anymore for some reason, it is much more convenient to find out the reasons of this efficiency shortfall. It may not be connected with the lack of knowledge or skills – the medical specialists may be simply not motivated enough to conduct their functions correctly. Measures such as retraining, reeducating and increasing the level of hospital commitment are the most reasonable in this situation. It is not only the team of consultants that the manager has to take care of – all the levels of organization should be informed about the company strategic and tactic goals to make the institution as organic and flexible as possible. Surely, new people and the ideas that may come with some new faces may also become appreciable. There are many innovational ways of choosing consultant team members for the hospital in case you really feel the need to change it. It is essential to make the team of consultants multidisciplinary, meaning that they should have the authority and skills to conduct various operations (Arnst, 2010). The manager is going to use the support so-called advisory group that is going to include the chief medical officer, medical director, statisticians that are available to provide some figures, related to this particular medical institution, computer specialists, and separate officers that may be responsible for nursing, customer service, case management, quality enhancement, and other important elements, depending on the structure of this hospital. The manager will meet this team of consultants once a month to receive the information about strategic goals and guarantee the sustainability of the current working processes. There will be other group of consultants that the manager is going to meet more frequently (once or twice a week). This second team will include statisticians, available at the moment, nurse managers, health service researchers, pharmacists, medical and administrative team leaders. These people will help the manager to define tactic goals and discuss their fulfillment.
The most traditional problems that the hospital might face are the errors that take place during discharges. Confused discharge procedures often lead to re-hospitalization. There are multiple discomforts that may be caused by the imperfect discharge procedure, done by the nursing staff (Forster et al., 2003). The patients very rarely have just one disease to deal with, and many diseases are followed by severe complications. These are the major reasons behind re-hospitalizations – discharge is just an overture to coming back to the hospital. Discharges are featured with multiple injuries and harm, done to the health of patients, and if the previous health information was not recorded properly, it may be difficult for the new doctor to follow the condition that the patient is in. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that these mistakes are caused by the lack of proficiency in medical specialists – these errors of recording are rather systematic and typical for the whole industry of health care (Kohn et al., 2000). The possible solution to discharge errors may be informing the patients about their health conditions, therapies and medications; recording the anticipated problems and communicating them at the day of discharge; checking on the health condition of the patient during the “risk period” after the discharge; controlling the therapies, taking place after discharge. If the patient belongs to so-called risk group it is essential to apply business system of risk probability evaluation. By the way, more sophisticated approach would include regular patients as well. This system is taken from business and should include deep interviewing, thorough cause analysis, problem mapping, and the analysis of possible influences. This will allow the manager to comprehend and accumulate the most important information and let the hospital be ready for any changing circumstances. Having this information at hand, the hospital manager is able to come up with the possible consequences of each discharge and their probability and to work out preventive measures correspondingly. Just in case the prevention is not effective, an elimination plan should be developed for additional guarantees. It is important not to switch to individual performance, when it comes to systematical discharge mistakes. One of the IT solutions, available for discharge problem resolution, is the introduction of FIM scores – the system that shows the current progress of each patient. These systems will ensure that all the patients’ needs and peculiarities are recorded and considered during future medications and therapies. The program will store all the important data so that the staff using it won’t be overloaded. One problem of discharge process is that is usually conducted by nursing staff that is always overloaded with other procedures. Many nurses simply don’t know what the correct way of discharge is. FIM scores represent an accurate documentation instrument that defines the insurance payment and the appropriate time for discharge in each individual case. The flexibility here is that the nursing staff is free to grade the patient independently from the therapist. This is a cost-effective system as well as it saves the resources, spent on double checks of the patient’s health condition.
The other problem that is typical for healthcare industry is poor team building. The only way to resolve it is to start a campaign for commitment increase. The specialists of all levels should be constantly reeducated and retrained to make sure that their focus is kept on the healthcare mission. All the levels of the hospital organization should be informed about the strategic and tactic plans of the entire company. This is achieved with the informational system that suits the interests and convenience of the employees. The manager should empower the subordinates, instead of restricting them with authority limitations. It means that the bounds of traditional hierarchy should be eliminated. Medical specialists and nurses often don’t have enough authority to do their best for the benefit of the patients. The circumstances that are set for health care institutions tend to change on a regular base. That is why each employee should be ready to incorporate additional resources and make exceptions to complete all the necessary operations. This organizational change will put the patient in the center of healthcare operations. Moreover, each employee will likely feel the devotion and commitment, improving one’s proficiency level, knowledge and skills. The speed of service will definitely improve due to this enhancement as well. It will be easier for the staff members to communicate with each other as each employee will be informed about the situation.
The IT part of the solution presented will be connected to Functional Independence Measure scores, created for the patients that experience post-trauma or other risky periods. FIM scores are intended to consider each particular specialty field, and are essential for defining insurance payments and gauging the patient appropriately. This documentation will take off the burden of care in case the score is too high, the insurance payment will be cut, and the patient may be discharged before acquiring full functionality. It is important for the therapist not to be overloaded with FIM scores information, as there is a risk that it won’t be accurate if three or more patients are controlled. The next measure, related to IT enhancement, is the introduction of constant information flow system. Every employee throughout the company should be familiar with the anticipated dangers, available opportunities, sustainable strengths and undesired weaknesses of the hospital. The goals of strategy and tactics should be clear to everybody. The benefits of cooperation can be also involved, basing upon the company overall results but never on the individual performance as many factors stay out of employee’s control. Such system has already been introduced in the Capital Holding Company (Weicher et al., 2005). The human part of the solution should consist of reeducated and retrained specialists and staff members that are familiar with the mission of the hospital and are ready to fulfill more challenging tasks. The experience of GTO, Inc., headed by the new CEO Chuck Mitchell, proves that persuading the employees in the efficiency of the new plan and the splitting decision making among the lower levels of authority are not as hard and expensive as it may seem (Weicher et al., 2005). Sharing information should also ask for staff feedback from the staff and the specialists, including their plans for the future five or ten years.
The beneficiaries of the offered solutions include the staff members, the highly qualified specialists, the managers of the hospital, and the patients as well. The advantages of each group were provided above.