Health Care Management: A Turbulent Past and an Exciting Future
We all need it but nobody wants it. Or to say it another way, everybody wants to live a long time, never be sick, and die painlessly and inexpensively. How do we manage a product or service that has this kind of relationship with customers?
Well, it turns out to be hard, but it is necessary for us to think creatively about improving health care by managing it better. We certainly need to improve health care by creating better drugs, more sophisticated surgical procedures, and less invasive and more accurate diagnostic tests. But, we also need to manage the system better; to use our resources more efficiently and effectively.
As it is presently structured and managed, our health care system costs too much (it is the major cause of personal bankruptcy), is not of consistent high quality (the error rates in the system are atrocious), and too many people do not have good access (there are wide disparities in access across our society). The issues of health care management are cost, quality, and access.
Things we need to attend to if we want to manage the system better include:
Here are some specific ideas for improvement:
- Patient control over outcomes
- Difficulty of cost-benefits analysis
- Highly variable time horizons
- Variable and indeterminate technologies
- Direct participation of high knowledge workers in service delivery
Reuben McDaniel, professor in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management, received his B.S. from Drexel University, his M.S. from the University of Akron, and his Ed.D. from Indiana University. His research and teaching interests include health care management, strategic management, organization theory, and policy analysis.
- Pay doctors salaries
- Make medical school free
- Rethink electronic health records
- Recognize limits of medical practice
- Focus on relationships among caregivers
- Involve patients in the work of healing