Monday, October 19, 2009

Rural health service management

In 2005, research by Couper & Hugo, published in Rural and Remote Health 5, 433. (Online) 2005 explored management factors attributed to the successful operation of rural hospitals. The research identified thirteen themes in three clusters. The clusters are (1)teams working together for a purpose, (2)foundational framework and values and (3)health service and the community.

The research indicated that teams that work together to solve problem through utilising their relationships and interdependencies; when they meet they have a unity of purpose and a commitment towards each other and to patients and stakeholders. They share constantly with each other and maintain open communication lines.

The research also indicated that effective teamwork is dependent upon a management culture that openly supports and encourages teams to form and work together collaboratively. This is the foundational framework which the rest of the organisation builds upon. The foundational framework therefore incorporates the values and culture of the organisation. A culture of success is one where people care for each other's long term sustainability rather than just their own short term needs. It is a culture where people moving out hand over to their replacements in a manner designed to ensure continuity of service.

In rural areas the integration between community and the health service is critical. Often a hospital is a key employer in a rural area as well as being a primary provider of wellbeing for those in the community. A lot of community identity is invested in a rural hospital. Hospital management at all levels must be involved with their community, they must do more than live in the community they must be a part. I am reminded of the CEO of one of our clients. He not only manages the nfp organisation he heads up, but is also a member of the board of governance of the local hospital and actively involved in the community. This level of engagement serves to eliminate elitism and ensures a steady stream of constructive feedback to help the hospital management meet the needs of the community.

Let The Journey Continue

John Coxon
Taking You From Frontline Manager to CEO
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