Student Question

I need help defining a management function under the viewpoint of a  health care management role.

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There are five types of managerial functions, which suit to each organizational or corporate leader according to their own business personality traits. These functions are:

  • planning
  • organizing
  • directing/leading
  • controlling
  • staffing

In order to understand them at a simple level, imagine the captain of a boat. In order to ensure that the boat will always be safe to travel on, and that it will withstand any change in the environment, the captain needs to plan ahead for the care of the boat, organize how it will be used, lead the travels, and control situations when they may turn into chaos, should something go awry. All this being said, perhaps one of the most difficult managerial functions is planning.

Planning entails the development of an on-going business improvement model that will change as the environment changes, as the needs or demands change, and as the clientele changes. 

In a health-care environment the process of planning involves just about the same action plan as any other business. In the particular case of health care management planning involves:

  • measuring productivity by determining labor input vs. output
  • previewing and looking over budget expenditures
  • having an emergency procedure in place
  • looking after the safety and security of employees
  • establishing protocols of conduct, etiquette, employee relations, and patient confidentiality
  • developing and revisiting business action plans according to the changes in demographics, epidemiology, and community resources.

As you can see, there is this, and then a lot more that is covered in the process of planning. This is because planning is done for prevention and for averting shifts that may result in dis-serving the population of target customers that you want to retain.

The International Journal of Health Planning and Management published an article based on planning titled "Demographic diversity, communication, and learning behavior in health care groups" (Curşeu 2012). This article relates in part how the current economic developments have impacted communities in several different ways. In some cases, there is a shift where new demographics which may come with cultural differences that affect communication.

Since the health care field is one of the most solicited as far as needs-basis, it is imperative to plan ahead for these changes. It is also imperative to plan for these economic changes as well, as the supply and demand will inevitably suffer a lack of balance.

Hence, planning requires looking at trends and patterns in the present to avoid surprises in the future.

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