Free «Health Care. Current Management Issues that the Health Sector Faces» Essay Sample


Health care is one of the fundamental human rights and it is the role of any government to ensure that it enhances provision of health care services to its citizens.  Managing healthcare sector is one of the most challenging roles of any given manager. It is one of the most complicated sectors of the economy that is difficult to manage. It is challenging to manage a healthcare sector due to its complex integration of roles and its importance to the economy. As a manger there are complications when it comes to staffing, planning, coordinating and ensuring that quality services are delivered to the customers.  The health care sector faces many current issues which mangers need to be conversant with if they are to effectively manage the sector.

This study is very important as it provides an analysis on the current management issues that the health sector faces, and how various articles have addressed the issues. The paper does provide practical solution based on review of various articles that will be very useful to any manager in applying the various management principles in tackling these issues. A manger should be fully informed about the current management issues in the sector in order to effectively perform ones duties in the current demanding environment in the health care sector. With full knowledge of the management issues concerning healthcare sector one will be fully prepared to deal with the issues effectively by applying management principles to address the issues.

Health insurance is one of the major management issues related to the healthcare sector. As a manager, one needs to be fully aware of the current issues surrounding health insurance because insurance companies will be entitled to pay medical as well as health care services bills for the patient who has a medical cover plan. It is, therefore, important for the health care manager to be aware of various issues regarding health insurance polices in order to ensure his/her health care provision organization is well prepared to serve patients with health insurance covers. The knowledge on the issue is also crucial as it helps the management be fully aware of the impact that the health insurance has on their earning powers, and this helps the management to plan to cater for patients with health insurance covers without disrupting the earning capacity of the health care center because in most cases insurance companies tend to delay making payments to the relevant health care providers.

The issue of innovation in the health care sector is another issue that managers are faced with in managing health care provision institutions. Given that the world of technology keeps on changing each and every day it is crucial for health care managers to be conversant with these changes as they have a direct impact on the way health care services are provided in their institution.  It is the role of management to ensure that their institutions adopt the appropriate technology that will improve health care provision. Therefore, innovation is a challenge to many managers as it requires health care institutions to invest heavily in research and development for high levels of innovation as many institutions are faced with financial constraints.

Drug provision in most of the public health care institutions is a major challenge especially in developing countries. Managers in these institutions need to be aware of the challenges they are faced with in order to come up with a strategic plan to address the problem of lack of drugs in their institutions. The issue of consumer rights is another challenge that managers in the health care sector are encountered with. With the growing awareness of their rights consumers are demanding high quality services, and it is the role of mangers to ensure that high quality services are provided to the patients and fair prices are charged for these services.

The issue of employee training and rights in the work place is another one that managers have to deal with in the health care system. Employees in the health care institutions are demanding for better remunerations, better terms of services and good working conditions. It is crucial for managers in this sector to be aware of these issues in order to come up with measures that can be used to address the employees’ plight in their organization ensuring that quality services are provided to the patient. Another management issue related to health care is financial constraints. The cost of providing health care is very high in all parts of the world and needs the government to come in and provide subsidies to health care providers to make the heath care services more affordable to the citizens. Despite government aids most of the heath care institutions face financial challenges that greatly affect their ability to provide quality services to the patients. As a manger, one needs to be aware of this challenge in order to come up with measures that will enable the institution to generate income, to sustain it, and enable it to provide quality services to the patients without necessarily having to depend on government subsidies.

The study of health care management is crucial as it provides information on management issues and challenges that managers in the health care centers are faced with. Therefore, it provides the management students with insightful information on the likely challenges they will face when they join the practical world of management. It also provides students with the opportunity to apply some of the management principles in addressing issues affecting the health care sector.

Ten articles will be reviewed in this study. These articles will provide crucial information on some of the management challenges taking place in the health care sector and the implications that these issues have on management. They will also provide remedies of addressing these challenges and how managers can apply these strategies to solve the problems in the health care sector.

Christensen, C., Bohmer, R., & Kenagy, J. (2000). Will disruptive innovations cure health care? Harvard Business Review,78(5), 102-112.

This article addresses the role of disruptive innovation in health care centers. The article takes into account some of the challenges that come with adapting new technologies in the health care provision institutions and the advantages of allowing for innovation in the health care sector. The authors of the article point out that one of the challenges that managers will face is resistance from some shareholders who may think that introduction of innovations will threaten their business transactions in provision of health care facilities and equipment.  The article, therefore, brings clear picture of the probable resistance that managers will face introducing innovation in the health care institution, and the need to take into consideration the benefits of adopting the innovation rather than to take into account the selfish interest of those opposing to innovations being adopted in their institutions. The article shows the importance of adopting innovations as they help to improve the quality of services provided by health care institutions to the customers. The authors of the article argue that despite the disruption brought by the innovations, it is worthwhile to adopt new technologies if their benefits outweigh their costs in the long run. From the article, it is crucial for managers to be concerned with the benefits that come with disruptive innovations rather than failing to adopt them on the basis of the cost implications on the heath care provision institutions.

The article also does caution managers from adopting health care systems that do not add value to the overall health care provision. The authors are of the view that the current crisis in the health care sector is as a result of health care institution managers adopting new technologies without weighting the benefits and the overall effects that the given technology will have on services delivery. The crisis whereby adoption of disruptive innovations in many health care institutions has lead to high cost of medical care, and it can be attributed to failure of the management to adopt the technologies in phases. The article recommends that the innovations should be implemented in phases in order to ensure that the new technologies will not block the provision of affordable services to the patients after their adoption in health care institutions. It is very important for the health care managers to take into account the interests of the patients during the disruption period to avoid curses caused by the increased cost of health care, instead of  being blessed by the patients due to the innovations lowering the cost of health care. The article argues that in order to protect the organization from the disruptions brought about by adoption of innovation there is a need for the management to form parallel organizations to oversee the implementation of these innovations.

Porter, M., & Teisberg, E. (2004). Redefining competition in health care. Harvard Business Review,82(6),64-76.

This article focuses on how competition can be used to make health care services of higher quality. The authors of the article are of the view that the current American health care system, which is composed of many private health care providers, has not achieved the intended goal of making health services affordable to the patients. The current level of competition in the American health care institutions has led to the high cost of health care services instead of lowering the cost. The article argues that there is a need to redefine the direction of competition from where it is now.  Management of health care institutions should ensure that competition is value-based rather than focusing on benefiting from the patients health problems. Most of the health care providers are more concerned about making profit rather than using their competitive advantages to charge higher prices to the patients.

The authors of the article are of the view that there is a need to redefine the focus of competition in health care sector from those who pay higher prices to those who provide high quality services to the patients. According to the article this can be a stone towards using competition as a strategy of improving health care services rather than using it as a mean of charging higher prices to the patients. Managers should be more concerned with developing health care provision institutions that improve the quality of the services that are offered to the patients and at the same time ensuring that those services are readily available and affordable to all groups of patients. Competition in the health care according to the article should move from zero sum competition to positive sum competition. Zero sum competition is a form of competition that does not add value to the consumer while positive sum competition is a form of competition that is value-based for both the consumer and the producer. Competition in the health care sector has been zero sum for a long time, but it is high time managers change their goal of competition to positive sum so that all the health care sector players can benefit equally. According to this article, information should be readily accessible to consumers of health care services so that they can make informed decision on where to seek for health care services. Malpractices in health care provision should be discouraged at all costs in order to transform the health care sector in America to be one of the best health care systems in the world. The article concludes that the goal of competition in health care provision should be redefined if the current issues faced by health care sector are to be fully addressed.

Lee, T. (2010). Turning doctors into leaders. Harvard Business Review, 88(4), 50-58.

This article argues that some of the issues health care sector faces currently can be addressed affectively by training doctors to be leaders. The traditional approach where doctors were not concerned about cost of treating a patient does not hold in provision of health care services in modern times. The cost of running hospitals and other health care provision institution has been on the rise due to the high cost of medicines and other equipment used to diagnose patients. The traditional approach of health care was more concerned with treatment of the patients, but the modern approach is completely different. Health care institutions nowadays are in business and they have to reduce their cost of operation to maximize their profit. In order to ensure that health care institutions achieve their business goals without shifting from their basic role of providing high quality healthcare service to the patients there is a need for doctors to be trained as leaders. The article argues that when doctors are trained as leaders they will approach their roles in health care provision differently from what they are used to.

The quality of services provided by doctors and other physicians should be based on the results of their services rather than on the number of patients they treat in a day or the number of tests that they are able to perform in a day. The approach of managing health care institution will help reduce cost of running health care institutions and at the same time maximize the consumer’s utility according to the article. The article also assumes that there is a need for the performance of doctors to be measured through performance contracts. As leaders, doctors will work in teams and this will increase efficiency of services provided by them to the patients. This approach of working in teams can be an effective way of reducing administrative and running costs of healthcare institution in the modern times thereby, maximizing shareholders wealth. Therefore, according to this article, managers of health care institutions can overcome the problem of financial constraints that hinders the quality of services that are provided by their institutions by turning doctors into leaders. This management approach will be an effective way of reducing cost of running health care institutions, maximizing patient utility and at the same time achieving the goal of maximizing shareholders wealth.

Herzlinger, R. (2006). Let’s put consumers in charge of health care. Harvard Business Review, 80(7),44-55.

This article addresses the issue of insurance in the healthcare sector. Most of the people who have taken the insurance policies are not happy with the way things are and there is a need to change the approach used to manage health insurance. The authors of the article argue that in order to enhance costumers’ satisfaction in the health insurance industry costumers should be put in charge of the whole industry. The services provider should offer health insurance covers that are customer-tailored in order to meet the needs of the customers. The insurers should come up with policies which are tailored in terms of prices and which meet the needs of the customers. The dissatisfaction being experienced currently by customers is a result of policies offered by the insurers which do not meet the needs of the customer. It is the role of health insurance players to change their approaches in the way they treat customers. The aim of each and every business organization is to fully meet the needs of the customers and be paid in return for the services they offer, this has not been the case for many years. The customer-based approach of managing health insurance industry will restore customer confidence in the industry.

The article argues that by making the customer in charge of the healthy insurance industry, fair prices will be charged for the various health insurance covers. Employees always complain of being charged high prices for the insurance covers. Taking a costumer-based approach can help improve the quality of services that insurers offer to their clients. The article emphasizes that the new approach will play a great role in transforming the whole insurance industry which has been failing to achieve its goals for years. From the article, managers should develop management strategies that will allow customers to dictate the type of services that they will need from insurance companies. This approach will reduce the number of complaints from the clients and improve the health care sector in the entire United States of America according to the article. The article suggests that allowing the costumers to dictate what kind of products  they need from the insurance companies will increase levels of creativity and innovation in the industry leading to provision of better products that will enhance the affordability of health care services to the client. Therefore, managers in the healthcare sector should tap opportunities provided by the new approach to make their organizations better.

Aspinall, M., & Hamermesh, R. (2007). Realizing the promise of personalized medicine. Harvard Business Review, 85(10), 108-117.

This article addresses the issue of personalized medicine in the health care provision in the United States of America. The traditional method of trail and error which is widely used by doctors in treating patients resulted to major problems in the health care according to this article. The article says that various studies indicate that a bigger percentage of drugs prescribed to patients go to waste as they do not help the patient. The article argues that the traditional method of drug prescription and treating diseases tends to lose millions of dollars in terms of giving the patients drugs that will not help them. The article assumes that there is a need to move from traditional treatment methods to personalized ones. Therefore, managers in health care institutions should embrace the new approach of treating patients as it will help their organizations to save millions of dollars. According to this article, adoption of personalized medicine will help health care organization save more lives as this method of treatment requires that the physician needs to carry out tests to diagnose the problem that the patient is suffering from and prescribe the right drugs to heal the ailment. Adoption of personalized medicine in the long run will help doctors to save many lives compared to the traditional method of treatment of trail and error. The method will also help save millions of dollars by prescribing the right drugs to the patients, thus avoiding wastages that result into loss of money.

The authors of this article argue that there are likely barriers to the implementation of personalized medicine in health care institutions which managers need to be ware of. First, physicians’ habits will be a major barrier to the changes whereby most physicians believe in their power to heal. Pharmaceutical industries are also opposed to the changes because they will be required to invest millions of dollars in research of better drugs which they are not prepared for; therefore any effort to implement personalized medicine in healthcare sector will be meet with full resistance from the institutions.

It is noted in the article that in order to overcome some of these barriers, pharmaceutical giants should be transformed to embrace personalized medicine so that health care institutions can move from tradition methods of treatment to the new ones. According to the article, doctors and physicians should be paid based on their performance rather than the number of patients that they treat each and every day. This approach of performance appraisal will help the doctors embrace personalized medicine as their method of treatment. Finally, regulations need to be put in place to encourage the usage of personalized medicine in treating patients.

Bohmer, R. (2010). Fixing health care on the front lines. Harvard Business Review, 88(4), 62-69.

This article focuses on the need to redesign healthcare system in order to address some of the challenges it faces  all over the world especially in the area of quality. The article argues that if high quality is to be achieved in delivering health care services then redesigning health care organizations is a must for managers if they are to transform their organizations. The redesigning of health care organizations should focus on changing the organization structure, clinical processes, management systems and ensuring that supporting cultures are changed within the organization. By redesigning the organizational components mentioned above the organizations will achieve their core goal of providing high quality health care services. The article admits that despite many organizations adopted the redesigning strategy they have not managed to improve the quality of the services that they offer to their patients.

In order to redesign the process aimed at achieving the intended goal, three basic principles must be followed by the management. First, the redesigning of the main goal should be done to optimize patient care in the long run. Therefore, the structures that are put in place should be directed towards improving the quality of services offered to the patients. Secondly, there is a need to separate low and high variability care during the redesigning process. Finally, resources within the health care organization should be reorganized. The resources should be directed towards building of supporting infrastructure with the aim of ensuring that redesigning achieves the intended goal of improving quality of services. It is important for managers in health care organizations to apply the three principles as they undertake redesigning process.

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Henderson, R. (1994). Managing innovation in the information age. Harvard Business Review,72(1), 100-107.

This article focuses on the issue of how health care organizations can manage innovation in the information era for them to remain relevant and competitive. The article gives an example of how pharmaceutical industries have remained competitive and relevant over the years despite numerous changes that have occurred in the field of drug discovery. Health care managers should learn from the success of these industries and apply what these organizations have done in order for them to manage innovations in this current age. One of the strategies that have been used by these organizations is continuous investment in research and development. This helps the organization produce relevant products that will meet the current needs of the customers.  The organizations also have the ability to learn as well as grow that confounds predictable wisdom to their advantage. Managers in health care organizations should also learn how to use conventional wisdom for the benefit of their organization.

The article also indicates that for an organization to manage innovations it must integrate knowledge from different fields to come up with better products or ways of providing services to the customers. Health care organizations also need to keep themselves connected to the world of science so that they can be in position to learn new knowledge and utilize the knowledge to improve the quality of their health care services. The health care organization mangers also need to adopt effective resources allocation methods. The organizational resources should be allocated to relevant projects that add value to the organizational services both in the short run and in the long run. The management should also have measures in place to manage tensions with the organization if effective management of innovations is to be achieved. This article argues that by managing innovations organization becomes relevant in the current age of information technology and it is managers’ duty to ensure that their organizations remain relevant.

Spear, S. (2005). Fixing health care from the inside, today. Harvard Business Review, 83(9),78-91.

 This article focuses on how the challenges faced by health care organizations can be addressed to within the organization. According to the article, majority of the challenges that are faced by health care organizations arise from failure of the systems within the organizations. There is a need to redirect the efforts of addressing some of these challenges from the internal perspective rather than from the external one. The main problem that should be addressed from inside of the health care organization is ambiguity in service delivery. Some of the procedures and policies used in service delivery are ambiguous in nature making it hard for the respective personnel to offer quality services to the patients. The authors of the article are of the view that if health care providers in health care organizations are to deliver services effectively to the patients their ambiguity in organization system needs to be eliminated.

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Another notable problem that should be addressed from the inside is errors by doctors resulting into deaths of the patients. Management in health care organization should invest heavily in research work especially the one that focuses on the experiment and simulation of various surgical procedures to increase the competencies of medical personnel. The organizations should also purchase the up to date medical equipment in order to reduce the chances of errors taking place during various medical procedures. Improvement of the competencies of medical personnel will reduce deaths as well as infections during major medical procedure . The article concludes that some of the challenges faced by health care sector can only be addressed from inside of the organizations that offer health care services. Management in these organizations should, therefore, adopt strategies that will enable their organizations address some of these problems internally.

Teisberg, E., Porter, M., & Brown, G. (1994). Making competition in health care work. Harvard Business Review,72(4),131-140.

This article focuses on what is needed to be done in order for competition in the health care sector to work for achieving the goal of improving the quality of services offered to the patients. According to the article, all players in the health care sectors need to take personal incentives if the completion in health care is to achieve the intended goal. First, the decision makers should base their decisions on the relevant outcomes that are expected from health care organizations. Physicians should also put their incentives in improving health care services rather than focus on increasing the usage of health care services.

In order to make competition work a number of things need to be done. First, the government should come up with incentives that encourage productive competition that focuses on adding value to the services offered to the patients. Insurance policies should be provided to cover organizations that show economic efficiency in managing their resources. Innovation should be encouraged to make competition work in all areas of health care sector. Finally information should be readily available to the health care players so that they can make informed choices. The article argues that if health care sector competition is to work, the above incentives need to be put in place in order to encourage productive competition that is urgently needed in the sector.

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Herzlinger, R. (2006). Why innovation in health care is so hard. Harvard Business Review, 84(5), 58-66

This article addresses barriers that make innovation in the health care sector so hard to achieve. Unless these barriers are fully addressed, innovation in the health care sector will remain a nightmare. The sector needs high levels of innovation in order to address the ever growing number of challenges taking place in health care institutions in terms of service delivery. According to this article, players in the health care industry are themselves the barrier to innovation. Some of the players who benefit from the current status quo fears that innovation may disrupt their business positions thus they are ready to do all within their hands to oppose new technologies in the health care sector.

Funding is another barrier that hinders innovation in the health care sector. For innovation to take place huge amounts of fund need to be invested in research and development but in most health care organizations this is not the case thereby, hindering innovations within the given organization. Lack of accountability, according to the article, is another major barrier to innovation. Those who are responsible for innovation activities within organizations are not held accountable for their mistakes in most cases and this usually hampers innovation activities within health care organizations. Other sources of barriers include policies, technology and customers. Therefore, managers need to address these barriers in their organizations if they are to make innovation work in their organizations.


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