Article Type: Editorial
Subject: Health maintenance organizations (Services)
Health education (Usage)
Author: O'Connor, Stephen J.
Pub Date: 03/01/2012
Publication: Name: Journal of Healthcare Management Publisher: American College of Healthcare Executives Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 American College of Healthcare Executives ISSN: 1096-9012
Issue: Date: March-April, 2012 Source Volume: 57 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 360 Services information
Product: Product Code: 8000130 Health Maintenance Organizations NAICS Code: 621491 HMO Medical Centers SIC Code: 6324 Hospital and medical service plans
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 285087581
Full Text: The late management guru Peter Drucker considered hospitals to be "the most complex human organization ever devised" (2002, 74). The people responsible for managing these institutions would surely agree with this characterization. Complexity science--the study of complex systems--provides a means for addressing the multifaceted and difficult problems faced daily in healthcare organizations. Yet because of the intensity of the work and perpetually looming deadlines, it seems many of us choose to resist complexity in favor of simplicity and control.

This issue's interview subject, James W. Begun, PhD, suggests that most healthcare leaders, in fact, practice complexity science on a regular basis. He offers a brief explanation of complexity science and how it can inform and improve healthcare management practice. In addition, he discusses the value of accreditation for healthcare management education and his career-long work with the profession of nursing.

In this issue we introduce new columns, Patient-Centered Care and Efficiencies. Barbara Cliff, RN, PhD, FACHE, explores the concept of patient-centered care and why it has seen a resurgence of interest in US healthcare organizations. Michelle Johnson and Vin Capasso describe how increasing patient throughput can lead to improved hospital efficiencies, potentially averting the need for costly facility expansion.

Profitable California hospitals in markets with a challenging payer mix--high numbers of uninsured and Medi-Cal patients and low numbers of commercially insured patients--are the focus of a study by Thomas Rundall, PhD, and colleagues. Analysis of in-depth interviews with the senior leadership teams of five of these hospitals revealed factors responsible for their financial success.

Using resource dependency theory as the conceptual framework, Tae Hyun Kim, PhD, and Jon Thompson, PhD, identify organizational and market attributes associated with the provision of leadership development programs in US acute care hospitals. The results and implications of this study are important, as the leadership abilities of hospital administrators are increasingly associated with clinical, operational, and financial performance.

Kimberly Adelman, PhD, examines the behaviors and actions of national and state-level Baldrige Award-winning hospital CEOs in encouraging employee voice and upward communication. The article offers important insights, as employees' unwillingness to share potentially damaging or threatening information can compel leaders to rely on flawed assumptions and erroneous information in decision making.

Stephen J. O'Connor, PhD, FACHE



Drucker, P. F. 2002. "They're Not Employees, They're People." Harvard Business Review 80 (2): 70-77.
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