Success in Health Care Managing:
Sustainability and Collaboration
University of Cincinnati
In the career of a health care manager, the goal is to make better care for patients. There are multiple management themes that can determine the success of a manager’s career. Among those themes, two are of utmost importance to me. They are sustainability and linking and working together. Sustainability is important due to the limited amount of resources available. Linking and working together will help improve quality of care. I will use these themes in my career.
In my future career as a health care manager, sustainability will very important in determining my success. Sustainability is defined by Lafond (1995, p. 63) as “the capacity of the health sector to function effectively over time, with a minimum of external input” (Merson, Black, ; Mills, 2012, p. 696). With limited resources, my career will always revolve around trying to deliver services to more and more people while on a tight budget.
I see the health care system as a dynamic one that is constantly changing due to external factors. Harris et al. (2017) expanded on what factors those may be the following:
Rising healthcare costs, continuing advances in health technologies and recognition of ineffective practices and systematic waste are driving disinvestment of health technologies and clinical practices that offer little or no benefit in order to maximize outcomes from existing resources. (p. 1)
Later in the article, it is explained that working with the current system is doable and affordable. Uprooting and changing the system completely can be costly. Keeping sustainability in mind, this changes how a manager would proceed with their decision making.
One factor to keep in mind is the turnover rate of staff in health care facilities. I have already experienced a high turnover rate. I work as a scheduler for a home health care company. We have hired aids and assigned them to multiple clients as their new permanent schedules. When the clients learn about the new aid, they are hesitant in accepting them because the new aid will have to be shown exactly how they would like the cleaning done, but the clients accept it since the aid will become permanent. If the aid quits, the clients have to be assigned a new aid. Often times, for people in their 80s or 90s, this is very distressing. The constant change isn’t helpful and aggravates the clients and their families. Some clients then choose to disenroll from our company. If the client has dementia, it is critical that they keep the same aid in order to develop a routine. For our company, having consistent staff is a necessity. When clients disenroll, we lose business. I will use this experience to learn more about managing and apply it to my future career as a health care manager.
Linking and Working Together
Collaboration is key. Currently, there is increasing individualism in the health care field which allows for more people to specialize. There are benefits to this but it doesn’t create a good environment for collaborating. As a health care manager, I believe a successful career would revolve around having a more collaborative staff in a health care facility. Some of the strategies and benefits for these changes are explained in Global health: Diseases, Programs, Systems and Policies. They are coordinating, cooperating, community supporting, nesting, advocating, regulating, shifting authority upward or downward, and developing collaborative skills and techniques (p. 694-695). These will broaden perspectives and allow for more flexible working patterns. This relates to the systems approach that is also explained in the text. Teaching a staff the broad range of knowledge, skills, and aptitudes to work in multiple departments of the hospital allows for managers to combine and use the different resources available.
Collaboration within one facility is important, but having it between multiple facilities is also helpful. Health care is moving in a direction to allow for more groups to have an effect on an individual’s health. “Collaborations between acute, post-acute, and community care settings yield great potential in their ability to ensure that patients are able to receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time” (Loehrer, McCarthy, & Coleman, 2015, p. 318). Not only will the participating organizations benefit, but the patients themselves will get better health care. As a health care manager, seeing these changes and benefits will mean that my career was successful.
At the home help agency that I work for, when the aids call off of work or quit without notice, the office staff goes out to take care of clients in the aids’ place. This includes myself and the rest of the scheduling staff, as well as staff from the corporate office that assist in payroll and human resources. Having the office trained this way ensures that our company won’t depend too strongly on the aids in emergencies. Some clients rely on us to give them a shower or feed them. Those clients are priority, and not seeing them is not an option.
There are multiple themes to management that will all affect my success as a health care manager. With the limited resources and the ever increasing demands in health care, maintaining and improving the care patients receive is priority, which ties in with sustainability. Increasing collaboration will also help facilities achieve those goals. Keeping sustainability and collaboration in mind, I will aim to make a positive impact in health care and help facilities with proper management strategies.
Harris, C., Allen, K., King, R., Ramsey, W., Kelly, C., & Thiagarajan, M. (2017). Sustainability in Health care by Allocating Resources Effectively (SHARE) 2: Identifying opportunities for disinvestment in a local healthcare setting. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 1-12. doi:10.1186/s12913-017-2211-6
Loehrer, S., McCarthy, D., & Coleman, E. A. (2015). Cross-Continuum Collaboration in Health Care: Unleashing the Potential. Population Health Management, 18(5), 317–319. https://doi-org.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/10.1089/pop.2015.0005
Merson, M. H., Black, R. E., & Mills, A. J. (2012). Global health: Diseases, Programs, Systems and Policies (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.