Healthcare Operations Management

Healthcare Operations Management

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This publication is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold, or otherwise provided, with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Healthcare Operations Management

The statements and opinions contained in this book are strictly those of the authors and do not represent the official positions of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives, or the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.

This book is intended to help healthcare professionals meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities found in healthcare today. We believe that the answers to many of the dilemmas faced by the US healthcare system, such as increasing costs, inadequate access, and uneven quality, lie in organizational operations—the nuts and bolts of healthcare delivery. The healthcare arena is filled with opportunities for significant operational improvements. We hope that this book encourages healthcare management students and working profession- als to find ways to improve the management and delivery of healthcare, thereby increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of tomorrow’s healthcare system. Healthcare Operations Management

Many industries outside healthcare have successfully used the programs, techniques, and tools of operations improvement for decades. Leading health- care organizations have now begun to employ the same tools. Although numer- ous other operations management texts are available, few focus on healthcare operations, and none takes an integrated approach. Students interested in healthcare process improvement have difficulty seeing the applicability of the science of operations management when most texts focus on widgets and production lines rather than on patients and providers.

This book covers the basics of operations improvement and provides an overview of the significant trends in the healthcare industry. We focus on the strategic implementation of process improvement programs, techniques, and tools in the healthcare environment, with its complex web of reimburse- ment systems, physician relations, workforce challenges, and governmental regulations. This integrated approach helps healthcare professionals gain an understanding of strategic operations management and, more important, its applicability to the healthcare field. Healthcare Operations Management

The first part of the book, Introduction to Healthcare Operations, begins with an overview of the challenges and opportunities found in today’s healthcare environment (chapter 1). We follow with a history of the field of management science and operations improvement (chapter 2). Next, we discuss two of the most influential environmental changes facing healthcare today: evidence-based medicine and value-based purchasing, or simply value purchasing (chapter 3).


In part II, Setting Goals and Executing Strategy, chapter 4 highlights the importance of tying the strategic direction of the organization to operational initiatives. This chapter outlines the use of the balanced scorecard technique to execute and monitor these initiatives toward achieving organizational objec- tives. Typically, strategic initiatives are large in scope, and the tools of project management (chapter 5) are needed to successfully manage them. Indeed, the use of project management tools can help to ensure the success of any size project. Strategic focus and project management provide the organizational foundation for the remainder of this book. Healthcare Operations Management

The next part of the book, Performance Improvement Tools, Tech- niques, and Programs, provides an introduction to basic decision-making and problem-solving processes and describes some of the associated tools (chapter 6). Most performance improvement initiatives (e.g., Six Sigma, Lean) follow these same processes and make use of some or all of the tools discussed in chapter 6.

Good decisions and effective solutions are based on facts, not intuition. Chapter 7 provides an overview of data collection processes and analysis tech- niques to enable fact-based decision making. Chapter 8 builds on the statistical approaches of chapter 7 by presenting the new tools of advanced analytics and big data.

Six Sigma, Lean, simulation, and supply chain management are specific philosophies or techniques that can be used to improve processes and systems. The Six Sigma methodology (chapter 9) is the latest manifestation of the use of quality improvement tools to reduce variation and errors in a process. The Lean methodology (chapter 10) is focused on eliminating waste in a system or process.

The fourth section of the book, Applications to Contemporary Health- care Operations Issues, begins with an integrated approach to applying the various tools and techniques for process improvement in the healthcare environ- ment (chapter 11). We then focus on a special and important case of process improvement: patient scheduling in the ambulatory setting (chapter 12). Healthcare Operations Management

Excellence in healthcare derives from four major areas of expertise: clinical care, population health, leadership, and operations. Although clinical expertise, the health of a population, and leadership are critical to an orga- nization’s success, this book focuses on operations—how to deliver high- quality health services in a consistent, efficient manner.

Many books cover opera- tional improvement tools, and some focus on using these tools in health- care environments. So why have we devoted a book to the broad topic of healthcare operations? Because we see a need for organizations to adopt an integrated approach to operations improvement that puts all the tools in a logical context and provides a road map for their use. An integrated approach uses a clinical analogy: First, find and diagnose an operations issue. Second, apply the appropriate treat- ment tool to solve the problem.

The field of operations research and management science is too deep to cover in one book. In Healthcare Operations Management, only those tools and techniques currently being deployed in leading healthcare organi- zations are covered, in part so that we may describe them in enough detail Healthcare Operations Management

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