Create an Innovative Work Environment Essay

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¶ … Opportunities to Maximize Resources in a Tertiary Healthcare Facility

In many cases, companies of all sizes and types fail to realize the full benefits of their available resources based on a lack of coordination between departments, so-called "turf battles" and a reluctance to share knowledge, among other reasons. As a result, internal and external customer service and profitability will suffer. There are some steps that can be used to help companies maximize their available resources, though, including environmental analytical techniques such as SWOT and force field analyses. To gain some fresh insights into how these methods can be used to maximize resources, this paper provides a review of the relevant literature, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the paper's conclusion.

Review and Analysis

Background and Overview

The organization in question is a 110-bed tertiary teaching healthcare facility that provides a full range of medical and surgical services. The healthcare facility is organized into several departments and services that provide administrative support services for the clinicians and healthcare workers. Although there is an information resource department, the hospital has a number of computer legacy systems still in place and there is no facility-wide information resource management plan to guide future acquisitions. There is also no coordination between departments when purchasing new information and communications technology equipment. These constraints have kept the hospital mired in an outdated network that requires constant maintenance and adjustments to achieve cross-platform compatibility. This lack of coordination also represents a key opportunity for improvement as discussed further below.

Generate New Ideas to Address Key Opportunity

SWOT Analysis. Because complex problems require complex solutions, it is important to determine all of the issues that are involved in developing an innovative working environment. For this purpose, a SWOT Analysis can help provide the framework needed to identify opportunities for improvement. According to Cravens (2000), the purpose of a SWOT analysis is to identify key issues that will provide decision-makers with the information they need to make informed strategic choices. The SWOT analysis is used to identify the respective strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the organization's environment: strengths consist of positive aspects that are internal to the entity; weaknesses are those negative aspects that are internal to the entity, opportunities are positive aspects that are external to the entity and threats are regarded as being negative aspects that are external to the entity (Cravens 2000). These various aspects of the SWOT analysis are applied to the tertiary healthcare facility's key opportunity in Table 1 below.

Table 1

SWOT Analysis of Tertiary Healthcare Facility

SWOT Category

Description

Strengths

1. The hospital has a dedicated and well trained professional healthcare and support services staff that has received accreditation from the Joint Commission.

2. The hospital is fiscally sound.

3. Generally, the hospital has state-of-the-art medical and diagnostic equipment.

4. There is a hospital-wide intranet available.

5. There is a graphic arts department available.

Weaknesses

1. Across the board, the hospital has an obsolete and aging information technology (it) infrastructure.

2. There is a profound lack of coordination between departments for new it purchases.

3. There are no formal guidelines in place to guide it acquisitions.

4. There is no formal way for staff to offer suggestions and recommendations about what type of it equipment is needed in their departments.

5. Employee morale in many departments is low.

Opportunities

1. A growing elderly population will need specialized services in the future.

2. Innovations in cloud computing may provide some cost-effective solutions.

Threats

1. A sluggish economy has adversely affected medical billing.

2. A national nursing shortage will impact the hospital's recruiting and retention efforts.

Force-Field Analysis. A force-field analysis provides decision-makers with the ability to identify constraints to successfully implementing and administering an innovative project as well as what resources are available to facilitate the project. In this regard, Stanford (2005) advises, "Developed by the organizational researchers Kurt Lewin, force-field analysis identifies those forces that both help and hinder you from closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be" (p. 89). It is important to note, though, that the force-field analysis method is not an end-all approach nor does it necessarily provide relevant benchmark data or other performance measures. Instead, this approach is best used to facilitate collaboration between stakeholders. For instance, according to Cronshaw and McCullough (2008), "Force field analysis is a popular means of conducting of organizational diagnosis that is widely promoted in research and practice. [the method] is not used to measure exact organizational outcomes but rather as a tool for group dialogue and the brainstorming" (p. 90). An application of this tool to the issues described in the SWOT analysis above is presented in Table 2 below.

Table 2

Assessment of Generated Ideas

Idea

Assessment

Create specialty clinics for the elderly

This is a good idea and could be a profit center for the hospital but it is beyond the scope of this project.

Implement hospital-wide it acquisition policies.

This is an important step to ensuring compatibility in the future but it would likely involve significant challenges from department heads.

Use the hospital intranet to solicit suggestions and recommendations from staff members concerning what it solutions are currently needed using a custom survey instrument.

This would be a cost-effective way to collect the information needed to formulate informed decisions.

Replace the entire hospital's it infrastructure with new, compatible systems

This idea would be an immediate solution to the it problems in the hospital but it would be cost prohibitive.

Create a series of posters for prominent placement in the hospital's hallways and public spaces (cafeteria, library, green areas) encouraging staff members to share their views about their it needs and how to use the hospital's intranet to do so.

The hospital's graphic arts department supervisor has already agreed to create a series of five posters for this purpose.

Determine how much, if any, of the hospital's current it needs can be moved to "the cloud."

The same constraints that characterize the implement of hospital-wide it acquisition policies would affect this idea as well.

Select Ideas to Implement

1. Use the hospital intranet to solicit suggestions and recommendations from staff members concerning what it solutions are currently needed using a custom survey instrument. This idea should be implemented immediately and the survey readministered periodically to assess changes in staff needs.

2. Create a series of posters for prominent placement in the hospital's hallways and public spaces (cafeteria, library, green areas) encouraging staff members to share their views about their it needs and how to use the hospital's intranet to do so. Using standard 11" x 14" paper, these posters would help raise awareness of the hospital's efforts to learn more from their staff members about their it needs and will provide a cost-effective promotional opportunity.

Implement and Evaluate

Based on their low costs and ease of adoption, the two ideas above were accepted for implementation by the hospital administrator and information resource department supervisor. A custom survey was posted on the hospital's intranet and notices were sent to all departments concerning its availability and purpose. This approach is congruent with the guidance provided by Grinnell and Unrau (2005) that, "Surveys can be designed to achieve a variety of ends, but they all seek to collect data from many individuals in order to understand something about them as a whole" (p. 272). In order to promote the trustworthiness of the instrument, the survey instrument was reviewed by coworkers and classmates to ensure face validity (Neuman, 2003). In addition, the survey instrument was pilot tested on several staff members to help refine the questions following Chaudron's (2008) advice that, "After developing the survey, give your preliminary survey to a sample of people who are similar to your… [END OF PREVIEW]

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