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Research Paper on Hospital Management

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Research Paper on Hospital Management

Managerial Applications of Information Technology in the Hospital Setting
The main aim of this research paper is to define the possible role that principles and tools of information technology can play in the hospital’s operations and strategic planning process. Many large hospitals in the country are successfully using IT for strategic decision making and, in particular, for the adoption of new technologies and the establishment of new services. This paper discusses some theoretical issues and reports on the experience of hospitals in the country during their implementation of modern technologies.

Modern information technologies implementation is critical in the management of hospitals, even when the types of the healthcare organizations differ. Public healthcare organizations along with privately run NGO’s and profit oriented clinics, should continuously improve their technological processes, paying particular attention on the effectiveness of the technology used.

One of the well-recognized problems of the usage of IT in the hospitals is related to the existing misunderstanding between formulation and implementation phases. Internal organizational conditions, emerging strategies, and changes in external environment typically place the implementation phase in trouble. Notably, such difficulty appears to be harder to solve in the case of health care organizations.

In hospitals, the clinical autonomy of physicians, in connection with their direct responsibility for patients, makes it difficult to apply formal planning and budgeting processes. Therefore, a health care organization is regarded as a complex system. It is difficult to forecast the level of personnel’s involvement in Healthcare hospital operations in each particular case. Under such conditions, IT implementation strategies tend to come from the bottom and implementation of planned strategies by the top management team become very complex (Foss, 1996).

At this point it is reasonable to depict how the IT implementation in the hospitals might offer solutions to the difficulties associated with redundant paper work and problems with essential charting. During the last 20 years, different states in America have tried to implement a number of measures to improve their healthcare systems. The initial reasons for such reforms were pressure for cost cutting and the need to optimize the resources’ usage. An aging population, the increasing demand for services, and technological innovation in medicine represent the main factors in the increasing gap between needs and resources available for health care (Ferlie, Ashburner, Fitzgerald, and Pettigrew, 2000).

Similarly to the US, a number of states, before more crucial decisions’ implementation, offered a different way to allocate financial and human resources. The key aspect lies in increasing the effectiveness and efficacy of management processes in clinics and hospitals. This objective was pursued by increasing the level of autonomy of healthcare organizations with respect to national formal planning processes, and experimenting with a IT-enabled solutions.

More recently, some European countries (the United Kingdom and Italy, for example) voted legislation that enhanced the impact of IT in healthcare systems. The whole European Union is accentuating the importance of IT principles and tools to increase efficiency of their hospitals. Recent innovations in the statutes of the Italian National Health Service have strengthened the role of IT in healthcare organizations, evoking a proportional recognition of the criticality of strategic planning process in the business of government (Foss, 1996). The definition of the mission and the objectives, the selection of strategic options, the formulation of strategies, their implementation, and their evaluation all represent the fundamental steps of this process (Ferlie, Ashburner, Fitzgerald, and Pettigrew, 2000).

The effectiveness of the IT usage in the hospitals can be measured by its ability to produce maximum value for the different stakeholders in the health system, namely, the patients, the statutes from which the institution derives part of its objectives, and the institution itself. These components compose the organizational unity. The IT usage in the hospitals has particular connotations in health organizations.

Some innovative experiences in the United States underline the emergence of a technological pattern of innovation in the medical field that seems to promise to overcome issues of integration between the phases of formulation and implementation of strategic options (Saltman and Van Otter, 1999). This pattern uses methodologies developed within the scientific field known as IT. The methodologies of technologies used in the hospitals ensure an evaluation of health technologies such as medical devices, drugs, organizational procedures, and diagnostic and therapeutic courses.

The assessment of technologies requires strong competencies in the different clinical areas of epidemiology, biostatistics, economy, and management. Such measures are largely used to govern policymaking in order to enable general hospital staff to take full advantage of the new technologies offered. Recently, these competencies have been tested to support strategic decision making at the hospital level (Saltman and Van Otter, 1999).

Such measures are crucial for a comparative and scientifically strong assessment of the various choices in the introduction of the modern technologies proposed to clinicians (mainly from the head of departments), and in aiding to redefine the combination of services offered by the health care organization.

The aim is to build within the heath care organization a competitive structure of original ideas that aid in receiving funds from the directors. According to such prototype, directors are supposed to encourage the creativity of doctors and nurses, helping them to offer methods of treatment in reply to growing possibilities, in turn, proposed by IT. Particularly a number of selected units can be formed to advice medical personnel, aid them with financial planning and modeling to solve the tasks at hand.

The following structure can be used in the special units’ organization:
• A review of available scientific evidence to support the appropriateness of the new service or the new suggested technology in conformity with the approach of evidence-based medicine
• The factors that determine the coherence of the proposed technology with underlying strategic guidelines and with infrastructural and organizational linkages (e.g., work force and its reorganization)
• An evaluation of the economic sustainability of the IT project. Such sustainability should be supported with an adequate business plan that underlines costs and differential proceeds both current and future (new technologies, new spaces)
• An inquiry of the present and potential areas of application for the new service and the new technologies

The methodological approach described some of the difficulties of applying information technologies in healthcare organizations. In the first place, it seems to follow the institutional rules that require healthcare organizations to consider objectives of low costs, and quality.

Secondly, this scheme deals with the specific information in the health care organization. The redefinition of the mix of services and, more generally, the selection of strategic options is applied by giving an important role to the activities emerging from the hospital practices. The arguments presented in this paper suggest that the reduction of the paper work burden in healthcare organizations can be solved by adopting a modern technological approach that is knowledge based and evidence based.

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