Healthcare Management

By Kieran Walshe; Judith Smith | Go to book overview

28 Conclusions: complexity, change
and creativity in healthcare
management
Judith Smith and Kieran Walshe
Introduction
This book has demonstrated in a most vivid manner the complexity of the task facing healthcare managers in the twenty-first century, especially in relation to the rapidly changing nature of the context in which healthcare is delivered and managed. Healthcare is, as Chapter 2 demonstrated, an intrinsically political domain in which every citizen has some sort of interest and where managers are just one group of stakeholders within a complex web of actors who influence the development and implementation of health policy. The fundamental complexity of healthcare as a sector is increasing on account of four main factors as set out at the start of this book in Chapter 1:
the demographic shift (ageing population accompanied by rising incidence of chronic disease)
the pace of technological innovation
changing user and consumer expectations
rising costs.

These factors are woven throughout the chapters of the book, emerging at different points when authors assess the current state of play for their particular area of healthcare management. In this final chapter, we examine the specific nature of the challenge facing healthcare managers as they seek to deal with the inherent complexity and change within health systems, and we describe the creativity that is thus called for in order for healthcare management to be truly effective. As academics who both started their professional life as healthcare managers and who spend a lot of time involved in the development of the current and future generation of managers, we felt we had to conclude the book by setting out what this analysis of healthcare management actually means for the task of being a healthcare manager today. Hence we make no apology for the conclusions resting on a form of 'job specification' for a healthcare manager – a manager who needs to be highly creative when managing change within a highly complex environment.

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