The Future Of Healthcare: A Privilege Or A Right

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The future of healthcare requires skilled leaders to overcome several challenges. Over the next five to ten years, healthcare administrators should expect to encounter challenges that come with managing a practice. Caring for the financial wellbeing of a business can be difficult. Financial responsibilities include reimbursement through insurance companies, collecting co-pays, managing employee salaries, managing supplies, drug costs, legal fees, and many others. With an ever-declining reduction in the money available for healthcare facilities, healthcare administrators and professionals must become creative in offering more with less resources.

Healthcare facilities thrive when their staff is happy and satisfied with their work environment. Managing a healthcare facility properly will help not only keep staff satisfied, but patients as well.

For this to happen, healthcare facilities must invest in the right staff, and the right amount of staff. When choosing staff, a manager is essentially choosing where facility funds are allocated, and what these services provide for staff and patients. For example, hiring a medical assistant instead of a registered nurse might save overall cost, but a registered nurse might be a better investment to patient care. When hospitals are understaffed, hiring floating nurses instead of staff nurses might seem like a quick fix. In reality, floating nurses could cost the facility more than anticipated. According to Jan Schoenfelder (2019), “substituting unit nurses with float nurses’ results in higher scheduling costs because float nurses are paid higher average wages than unit nurses.” Healthcare administrators must stay up to date with base salaries that they are responsible for managing and how hiring certain positions could be beneficial or detrimental to hospital funds and patient care.

The cost of making the wrong hire is significant. The time spent screening, interviewing, checking references, on-boarding and training expenses requires employees time and managerial time. Healthcare administrators must consider cultural awareness and personality traits as well as an individual’s skill set, experience, and education when hiring an employee. An employee that does not connect with other employees can bring down work morale. A survey found 46% of all new hires fail within 18 months. Healthcare administrators must have guidelines when screening and hiring a new employee. These can include assessing the hiring needs of a company, online assessments, mandatory shadowing with current employees, peer interviews, and employee input. Some employers offer certain positions that are filled within the current company by only current employees looking to change their role in a company through a referral program.

Diversity and culture are also important factors for it is far too easy to hire with a homophily state of mind, which includes hiring employees who are the same background as an employer. A manger offers added value when understanding how to track macro-economic /population trends while also incorporating information of and respect for various cultures. Globalization involves leaders and managers considering cultural diversity as a part of their obligations.

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Ultimately, determining a manageable budget will keep costs low for employees and patients. Switching from paper records to electronic records cuts down on filing as well as rental space fees. Physicians spend less than a third of their time with patients, most of their time being spent on administrative responsibilities including entering patient notes into electronic health records. General administrative tasks such as appointment bookings and reminders can also be digitized and automated for greater clinical efficiency. A healthcare facility with up to date equipment will spare time and money. Healthcare administrators should research new equipment and determine initial cost, maintenance cost, and overall usage. Artificial intelligence (AI) and basic digital software can limit physician interactions with electronic hospital records. Purchasing a software would save time importing test results and completing paperwork. Software could also provide prescription advice and reminders, and help physicians avoid unnecessary testing. Keeping staff satisfied considers why staff have chosen a profession. Students don’t become nurses, medical assistants, doctors, etc. because they want to spend their day doing administrative work. They want to help others and provide quality care to patients efficiently. Spending more time with patients allows for more quality care.

Managerial styles are important when setting the tone of a staff and supervisor relationship, as well as running an office effectively. Healthcare administrators should follow a version of Theory Y managerial style. Theory Y has a core belief that all personnel are involved in the facility for the common goal, to treat and support patients. According to McGregor, D. (1960) “Because these managers can assume that employees will act in the best interests of the organization given the chance, Theory Y managers allow employees autonomy and help them become committed to particular goals.” This in turn helps a manager request their staff to participate in decision making. In a study from Gaul (2019), it was proven that “Employees who can express their views are more satisfied.” When making decisions that would ultimately affect the complete office, it is important to keep staff involved in the process. Healthcare administrators should be participative leaders for their doctoral and medical staff. Doctors, nurses, MA’s, etc. have high levels of ability and should be involved in decisions that affect their day to day work environment.

Healthcare professionals must invest in their staff and allow them to become leaders in their chosen profession. In nursing, staff are often promoted to Head Nurse or a managerial position as a reward for their clinical expertise. Most nurses are not adequately trained for a managerial role and often become burnt out due learning on the job through trial and error. These plans do not offer the proper skill training for aspiring nurses. Identifying aspiring leaders early in their employment allows the time to create a personalized plan with their career goals. Having a thorough plan for developing a leadership path allows staff to get prepared and is directly coupled to increased employee satisfaction and loyalty. Common traits of leaders to observe are intelligence, the Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism), self-esteem, and integrity.

Mentoring personnel with the Big Five personality traits allow the investment in an individual and the company as whole. The investment transforms qualified and abled personnel into competent leaders. The use of succession planning to establish and maintain career paths for staff sustains personnel to be more invested in their responsibilities and duties. According to Keating (2019), “When your executive team, management team and employee base understand that there are well-considered plans for the future health of the business, it assures them their career and financial future have a road map as well. They will want to be part of this process and demonstrate how they can rise in the organization as part of a planned evolution.” Theory Y managerial style plays into succession training. Theory Y establishes a manager to consider the individualized path an employee would need to succeed and that making decisions as a team furthers an employee’s understanding of their roles in the company.

According to Schub (2018), “Succession planning programs are not common in healthcare organizations, and the focus of many existing programs is limited to the development of nursing executive roles rather than development of roles in clinical leadership”. In order to change succession planning to all healthcare roles, employers must begin allocating resources, identifying key positions and competencies of employees, selecting leaders with high potential, developing a leadership development process, mentoring potential leaders, and evaluating the program and employers during the process.

Healthcare personnel provide the best quality of care when they feel satisfied in their employment. A study from 2019 surveyed 154 hospital employees from two different wards (cardiology and using a 7-point Likert scale questionnaire. 102 patients were surveyed in those same wards. The results concluded that the same ward that had statistical employee satisfaction also had more patient satisfaction, while the other ward had less employee/patient satisfaction. From the study we can conclude that a pleased employee creates a satisfied patient. Following the recommendations above, healthcare administrators have the tools to provide a satisfying workplace for healthcare personnel. 

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