Academic journal article Australian Health Review

The Real Business of Health Care

Academic journal article Australian Health Review

The Real Business of Health Care

Article excerpt

THIS ISSUE CONTAINS papers that consider some of the complex issues within human resource management (HRM) in health care. In health systems the care provided has tended to be craftbased production - a trained health professional provides his or her craft for individual patients, with little need for management. Influencing the relationship between practitioner and patient has been limited by professional autonomy and the different cultures that exist among the specialised health professional groups. These differences are illustrated by Perkins et al by the results of a survey of starting and finishing undergraduate medical, nursing and pharmacy students (page 252).

Although health care is dominated by craft production, our health service organisations are often structured using mass production principles, such as hierarchy and specialisation; but these structures and processes only manage around the edges, without interfering with the craft production relationship between practitioner and patient.

This inability to manage the clinician-patient relationship, the real business of health care, has resulted in independent, and largely inefficient, craft production. Instead of an effective interdisciplinary care delivery model, hospital organisation and hierarchy reinforces parallel care processes that only occasionally intersect. Human resource management is complicated by care that is delivered through multiple clinical processes that only occasionally intersect, with the result that high quality care is difficult to achieve consistently. …

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