How to Manage and Improve Healthcare Operations with the Third Edition of this Book
Healthcare Operations Management, Third Edition: A Comprehensive Guide for Healthcare Professionals
If you are a healthcare professional who wants to learn how to manage and improve the operations of your organization, you might be interested in reading the book Healthcare Operations Management, Third Edition by Daniel B. McLaughlin and John R. Olson. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the concepts, methods, and applications of healthcare operations management, with a focus on practical examples and case studies. In this article, we will give you a brief summary of the main topics covered in the book, as well as some reasons why you should download it today.
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Healthcare operations management is the discipline that deals with the planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and improving of the processes that deliver healthcare services to patients. It involves designing and managing the physical, human, information, and financial resources of healthcare organizations, as well as coordinating with other stakeholders such as suppliers, regulators, insurers, and customers. Healthcare operations management aims to achieve the following goals:
Enhance the quality and safety of patient care
Reduce the cost and waste of healthcare delivery
Increase the efficiency and productivity of healthcare operations
Improve the access and equity of healthcare services
Foster innovation and sustainability in healthcare systems
Healthcare operations management is a complex and dynamic field that requires a multidisciplinary approach and a systems perspective. It draws on concepts and tools from various disciplines such as engineering, management, economics, statistics, psychology, sociology, ethics, and law. It also adapts to the changing needs and expectations of the healthcare environment, such as technological advances, regulatory reforms, demographic shifts, social movements, and global challenges.
The third edition of Healthcare Operations Management is a comprehensive guide that covers the essential topics of healthcare operations management in a clear and concise manner. It is divided into four parts:
Foundations of Healthcare Operations Management
Designing Healthcare Operations
Improving Healthcare Operations
Managing Healthcare Operations
In each part, the authors present relevant theories, models, frameworks, methods, techniques, tools, examples, case studies, exercises, and questions that help readers understand and apply the concepts of healthcare operations management to real-world situations. The book also includes online resources such as slides, videos, spreadsheets, data sets, solutions manuals, test banks, and instructor guides.
In this article, we will focus on the first two chapters of the book, which provide an introduction to healthcare systems and processes, and healthcare operations strategy. These chapters lay the foundation for the rest of the book, and help readers develop a holistic and strategic view of healthcare operations management.
Chapter 1: Healthcare Systems and Processes
The first chapter of the book introduces the concept of healthcare systems and processes, and discusses the challenges and opportunities that they face in the current healthcare environment. It also presents some tools and techniques that can help improve healthcare systems and processes.
Overview of healthcare systems and processes
A healthcare system is a network of interrelated entities that work together to provide healthcare services to a population. A healthcare system can be defined at different levels, such as national, regional, local, or organizational. A healthcare system consists of three main components:
Healthcare providers: These are the entities that deliver healthcare services to patients, such as hospitals, clinics, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, etc.
Healthcare payers: These are the entities that pay for healthcare services on behalf of patients, such as governments, insurers, employers, or individuals.
Healthcare suppliers: These are the entities that provide inputs to healthcare providers, such as pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, distributors, etc.
A healthcare process is a sequence of activities that transforms inputs into outputs to deliver value to customers. A healthcare process can be defined at different levels, such as macro, meso, or micro. A healthcare process consists of four key components:
Inputs: These are the resources that are consumed or used by the process, such as materials, equipment, information, people, etc.
Outputs: These are the results or outcomes that are produced by the process, such as products, services, information, etc.
Flow: This is the way that inputs are transformed into outputs through a series of tasks or steps.
Feedback: This is the information that is collected and used to monitor and control the performance of the process.
Challenges and opportunities in healthcare systems and processes
Healthcare systems and processes face many challenges and opportunities in the current healthcare environment. Some of these are:
Quality and safety issues
Quality and safety are two of the most important goals of healthcare systems and processes. Quality refers to the degree to which healthcare services meet or exceed the expectations and needs of customers. Safety refers to the prevention or reduction of harm or errors that may occur during healthcare delivery. Quality and safety are influenced by many factors, such as clinical skills, technical standards, organizational culture, patient involvement, etc. Quality and safety issues can have serious consequences for patients, providers, payers, suppliers, and society at large. For example:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 134 million adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), resulting in 2.6 million deaths annually.
According to a study by Makary and Daniel (2016), medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States (US), accounting for more than 250,000 deaths per year.
According to a report by OECD (2017), one in 10 patients is harmed during hospital care in high-income countries (HICs), with half of these events being preventable.
To address quality and safety issues, healthcare systems and processes need to adopt a culture of continuous improvement and learning. They also need to implement evidence-based practices, standards, guidelines, protocols, checklists, etc. They also need to engage patients and families as partners in care delivery and decision making. They also need to use information technology (IT) systems such as electronic health records (EHRs), clinical decision support systems (CDSSs), computerized provider order entry (CPOE), etc. to enhance communication, coordination, documentation, monitoring, reporting, etc.
Cost and efficiency issues
Access and equity issues
Access and equity are two of the most important goals of healthcare systems and processes. Access refers to the availability and affordability of healthcare services for different groups of people. Equity refers to the fairness and justice in the distribution and utilization of healthcare services among different groups of people. Access and equity are influenced by many factors, such as geographic location, socioeconomic status, gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability, etc. Access and equity issues can have serious consequences for health outcomes, quality of life, social cohesion, economic development, etc. For example:
According to the WHO, at least half of the world's population still lacks full coverage of essential health services.
According to a report by UNICEF (2019), an estimated 5.3 million children under five years old died in 2018, mostly from preventable causes, with more than half of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to a study by Woolf and Braveman (2011), health disparities in the US account for more than $1.2 trillion in excess medical costs and lost productivity over a four-year period.
To address access and equity issues, healthcare systems and processes need to adopt a universal health coverage (UHC) approach that ensures that everyone can access quality health services without facing financial hardship. They also need to implement policies and programs that target the social determinants of health (SDH) that affect health outcomes, such as education, income, employment, housing, environment, etc. They also need to promote community participation and empowerment in health planning and delivery. They also need to use IT systems such as telemedicine, mobile health (mHealth), geographic information systems (GIS), etc. to overcome physical and informational barriers.
Tools and techniques for improving healthcare systems and processes
The first chapter of the book also introduces some tools and techniques that can help improve healthcare systems and processes. These tools and techniques are based on various disciplines such as engineering, management, statistics, etc. They can help analyze, design, implement, evaluate, and improve healthcare systems and processes. Some of these tools and techniques are:
Process mapping and analysis
Process mapping and analysis is a tool that helps visualize and understand the flow of a process. It involves creating a diagram that shows the steps, inputs, outputs, resources, roles, decisions, etc. involved in a process. Process mapping and analysis can help identify problems, opportunities, bottlenecks, waste, variation, etc. in a process. It can also help compare current and desired states of a process. It can also help communicate and document a process.
Lean and Six Sigma methods
Lean and Six Sigma are two methods that help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a process. Lean focuses on eliminating waste and non-value-added activities in a process. Six Sigma focuses on reducing variation and defects in a process. Lean and Six Sigma use a structured approach that follows five phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC). Lean and Six Sigma use various tools such as value stream mapping (VSM), 5S, Kaizen, Pareto chart, fishbone diagram, control chart, etc.
Simulation and optimization models
Simulation and optimization are two techniques that help evaluate and improve the performance of a system or process under different scenarios or conditions. Simulation involves creating a mathematical or computer representation of a system or process that mimics its behavior or characteristics. Optimization involves finding the best or optimal solution for a system or process that maximizes or minimizes an objective function subject to some constraints. Simulation and optimization use various methods such as discrete-event simulation (DES), system dynamics (SD), agent-based modeling (ABM), linear programming (LP), integer programming (IP), etc.
Chapter 2: Healthcare Operations Strategy
The second chapter of the book introduces the concept of healthcare operations strategy, and discusses the elements and frameworks that guide its development and implementation. It also presents some examples and case studies of healthcare operations strategy in practice.
Overview of healthcare operations strategy
A healthcare operations strategy is a plan that defines how a healthcare organization will use its operations capabilities and competencies to achieve its organizational goals and objectives. A healthcare operations strategy aligns with the overall organizational strategy, as well as with other functional strategies such as marketing, finance, human resources, etc. A healthcare operations strategy answers three key questions:
What are the operations objectives and performance measures that support the organizational goals and objectives?
What are the operations design and improvement choices that determine how healthcare services are delivered and managed?
What are the operations capabilities and competencies that enable the organization to execute its operations design and improvement choices?
Elements of healthcare operations strategy
A healthcare operations strategy consists of three main elements: operations objectives, operations choices, and operations capabilities. These elements are interrelated and interdependent, and form a dynamic and iterative process of strategic decision making.
Operations objectives and performance measures
Operations objectives are the desired outcomes or results that a healthcare organization wants to achieve through its operations. Operations objectives should be aligned with the organizational goals and objectives, as well as with the customer needs and expectations. Operations objectives should also be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Operations objectives can be classified into four categories: quality, cost, efficiency, and access/equity.
Operations performance measures are the indicators or metrics that are used to evaluate how well a healthcare organization is achieving its operations objectives. Operations performance measures should be valid, reliable, relevant, timely, and actionable. Operations performance measures can be classified into two types: outcome measures and process measures. Outcome measures reflect the results or impacts of healthcare services on patients or populations, such as mortality, morbidity, satisfaction, etc. Process measures reflect the activities or tasks involved in delivering healthcare services, such as waiting time, throughput, utilization, etc.
Operations design and improvement choices
Operations design and improvement choices are the decisions or actions that a healthcare organization takes to determine how healthcare services are delivered and managed. Operations design and improvement choices should be consistent with the operations objectives and performance measures, as well as with the external environment and internal resources. Operations design and improvement choices can be classified into four categories: service design, process design, facility design, and technology design.
quality, etc. Service design also involves identifying the target market, segmenting, positioning, differentiating, etc. Service design also involves developing the service blueprint, which is a diagram that shows the sequence of activities and interactions between customers and providers in a service delivery process.
Process design is the decision or action that determines how healthcare services are performed and coordinated within and across organizations. Process design involves defining the process flow, which is the sequence of steps or tasks that transform inputs into outputs in a service delivery process. Process design also involves defining the process structure, which is the arrangement of resources and roles that support the process flow. Process design also involves defining the process management, which is the set of policies and procedures that govern the execution and control of the process.
Facility design is the decision or action that determines where and how healthcare services are physically delivered and accessed by customers. Facility design involves defining the facility location, which is the geographic placement of facilities such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, etc. Facility design also involves defining the facility layout, which is the spatial arrangement of facilities such as rooms, equipment, furniture, etc. Facility design also involves defining the facility capacity, which is the amount of resources or space that can accommodate the demand for healthcare services.
Technology design is the decision or action that determines what and how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used to support healthcare services. Technology design involves defining the technology infrastructure, which is the hardware and software components that enable data collection, storage, processing, transmission, etc. Technology design also involves defining the technology applications, which are the software programs or systems that perform specific functions or tasks related to healthcare services. Technology design also involves defining the technology integration, which is the degree of compatibility and interoperability among different technology components or systems.
Operations capabilities and competencies
Operations capabilities and competencies are the skills and abilities that a healthcare organization possesses or develops to execute its operations design and improvement choices. Operations capabilities and competencies should be aligned with the operations objectives and performance measures, as well as with the operations choices. Operations capabilities and competencies can be classified into four categories: operational excellence, innovation, agility, and resilience.
Operational excellence is the capability or competency to deliver healthcare services consistently at high levels of quality, efficiency, and productivity. Operational excellence involves implementing best practices, standards, guidelines, protocols, etc. Operational excellence also involves applying continuous improvement methods such as Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen, etc. Operational excellence also involves fostering a culture of quality and safety among staff and stakeholders.
Innovation is the capability or competency to deliver healthcare services that are new or improved in terms of value proposition, features, functions, benefits, etc. Innovation involves identifying customer needs, expectations, preferences, etc. Innovation also involves generating ideas, solutions, alternatives, etc. Innovation also involves testing, evaluating, refining, etc. Innovation also involves launching, scaling, diffusing, etc.
Agility is the capability or competency to deliver healthcare services that are responsive and adaptable to changing customer demands or environmental conditions. Agility involves sensing customer feedback, market trends, competitive actions, etc. Agility also involves analyzing customer data, market information, competitive intelligence, etc. Agility also involves deciding customer segmentation, positioning, differentiation, etc. Agility also involves acting customer acquisition, retention, satisfaction, etc.
Resilience is the capability or competency to deliver healthcare services that are robust and reliable in terms of continuity and recovery from disruptions or crises. Resilience involves anticipating potential risks, threats, vulnerabilities, etc. Resilience also involves preparing contingency plans, backup systems, etc. Resilience also involves responding crisis management, incident response, damage control, etc. Resilience also involves recovering restoration, recovery, learning, etc.
Frameworks and methods for developing healthcare operations strategy
The second chapter of the book also introduces some frameworks and methods that can help develop and implement healthcare operations strategy. These frameworks and methods are based on various theories and models from strategic management, operations management, and other disci