Strategic use of resources is imperative in hospital management, and it includes the management of physical and human resources, budget, implementation of changing methods, logistics, and monitoring and evaluation. Resource allocation is a critical aspect of strategic hospital management that involves making decisions about such areas as funding, staff, equipment, and facilities, in order to achieve organizational goals.
Strategic hospital management
In hospitals, things change quickly, and an overly complex strategy plan may eventually derail due to being difficult to follow and maintain progress. However, a plan that is built on the mission and vision of the hospital is more likely to succeed. Strategic hospital management is the process of creating that plan and setting goals for the future of the hospital, usually over a period of three to five years.
Why is strategic hospital management important?
Every organization benefits from having a strategic plan, including healthcare organizations such as hospitals. A strategic plan guides important decisions and ensures that the hospital operates effectively. The planning for hospitals can be more complex than other businesses as it is frequently affected by external factors such as tragic events meaning a higher and unexpected patient intake, new discoveries in medicine and disease management, and outbreaks of sickness.
Strategic hospital management ensures effective operation in the following ways:
- The strategic planning process assesses changes in the external environment and, thus, hospitals manage any potential problems.
- It ensures focus and direction for daily work, even if circumstances (internal or external) change.
- It provides a consistent information flow regarding hospital performance, supporting better, more timely decision-making. The availability of such data also helps the hospital to reprioritize or refocus as needed.
Tips for strategic hospital management planning
Strategic planning is important for hospital management; however, the strategic planning process is complex. Once the plan is implemented, knowing and monitoring progress is important. Here are some tips for keeping on track with progress.
· The hospital’s mission should be a top priority
The mission and vision of the hospital provide a foundation for strategic planning. The strategic plan should ensure that the planned objectives and priorities support these key elements. Any goals that are not aligned with the mission and vision should be reconsidered.
· Keep strategy-focused
Goals to excel in everything such as being the best in facilities, doctors, number of patients, specialty, research and innovation, being patient-centric, etc., are likely unrealistic and put conflicting pressure on resources and energy.
· Sharing and communicating
Sharing strategic plans with everyone is an effective tool for its success. Every department head concerned should understand the importance of a strategic plan and be able to align their team with the strategy.
Resources in hospital management
Strategic hospital management encompasses all activities that take place in a hospital, including coordinating all resources to ensure continuous, flawless work toward a common goal of excellent healthcare. The essential resources required for a smooth operation are physicians, specialist doctors, nurses, other healthcare staff, equipment, finance, and other infrastructure.
Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs can help nurses develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead healthcare organizations in resource allocation and strategic hospital management. Programs like Baylor University online DNP are ideal for nurses looking for some flexibility while pursuing further education to assist in their career progression, especially when looking at leadership roles in hospital management.
· Resource allocation
Resource allocation is a process of the optimal distribution of resources among competing demands. For strategic hospital management, the necessary resources stated above should be optimally directed so that the hospital can provide the best healthcare services to all.
Burnout is a problem that hospitals have to face. Burnouts affect the standard of employees’ work and make them unhappy, which is risky for hospital services. Hospital employee burnout is common and cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed. To avoid hospital staff burnout, resource leveling should be utilized to adjust and manage staff workload when required.
· Human resources
Hospitals require human resources, including healthcare professionals with different skills, education, and areas of expertise. There is a worldwide shortage of skilled medical professionals, from nurses to specialist doctors. The shortage significantly impacts the quality of healthcare received by patients. Overtime and burnouts further add to the shortage of human resources.
The allocation of human resources is a complicated problem and often not optimized. Certain tools like a schedule or management tools can help to optimize the allocation of human resources, for instance where to place certain healthcare professionals in the case of an internal or external emergency. These tools can assist with transparency and ease when dealing with personnel changes.
· Physical resources
Medical technologies are advancing rapidly. On the one hand, hospitals need the latest medical equipment and, on the other, they need medical professionals with skills to utilize them for treatment. The financial resources required for both are exorbitant, and in the absence of strategic planning, it becomes very difficult for hospital management to keep pace.
Documentation of resource allocation
It is essential to document how hospital resources are being managed and utilized, and strategic planning can help to streamline this process. Poor documentation can lead to confusion which impacts the effectiveness of the plan and makes it more complex to make changes in the future, or in case of emergency.
The challenges and benefits of resource allocation in hospitals
Resource allocation in a hospital is both critical and complex, as the dynamics within a hospital or any healthcare setting are often unique. Hospitals require many types of resources (equipment, personnel, facility, medical), and demand for those resources are very changeable. It goes without saying that patient care should be the most important consideration for any hospital. Effective strategic management of resources can help healthcare professionals provide the best and most suitable care for their patients, whilst keeping in line with the mission of the organization.