Coordination & Communication Within Health Care Organization

Topics: Health care, Health informatics, Health care provider Pages: 9 (3171 words) Published: October 4, 2008
Coordination And Communication Within Health Care Organization Health Care Organization is unique and complex entity consisting of groups of specialized people with specific purpose in the set of rules, policies, procedures, relationships and culture. It is highly diverse organization consisting of people from different functionality, in management side includes human resources, finance and accounting, information systems, maintenance housekeeping; in clinical side includes physicians specialized in different departments of medicines, nurses, laboratory technicians and the list continues. Expertise in each department ranges from new to highly proficient. There is no room for a mistake in health care organization as they deal with life and death. It is very sophisticated, having very little tolerance with error, requires a very close net and efficiency between departments which has to be characterized by high level co-ordination and communication. In fact, communication can be considered a co-ordination device (Dietz, 2002). Coordination is the act of making different people or things work together for a goal or effect. It deals with the interdependencies by effectively linking together the various parts of organization or by linking two or more organizations to pursue a common objective (Malone & Crowston, 1994). Many researches were conducted regarding effect of coordination in health organization. The results indicate that it plays an important role in performance and efficiency of health care organization. More recent studies of health care delivery settings also indicate that effective coordination of staff leads to better clinical outcomes (Gittell et all., 2000; Yougn et al., 1997; Young et al., 1998). The logic behind coordination is the presence of dependencies between departments and their activities. And the goal of coordination is to manage these dependencies in such a way that the activities become part of the organization’s objective (Holt, 1998). If there is no interdependence between departments or organizations then there is nothing to coordinate (Malone & Crowston, 1994). Dependencies cannot be avoidable, only it can be coordinated to achieve a purposeful goal of the organization. The role of communication in coordination was overlooked by Malone and Crowston. Coordination is usually achieved with some kind of communication or transfer of information. Health care organization being a complex organization cannot be handled by a single man’s perspective, and therefore a completely centralized control is required which is relatively autonomous in the goals they pursue but still interdependent (Hayek, 1945). In this highly diverse organization, coordination between professional groups, patient care units and service components within the organizations is highly important to the performance of health delivery system. Depending upon the function, organizations are typically differentiated. Within the organization, the degree of differentiation also varies reflecting its structure (Charns & Tweksbury, 1993). For example, in a hospital there are primary clinical departments of medicine, surgery, and neurology, are further differentiated into various subspecialties like cardiology, nephrology within the departments of medicines. This kind of differentiated and specialized organization requires substantial degree of coordination. Various different kinds of intra-organizational mechanisms are used by health care managers to coordinate work activities. In 1958, two primary types of co-ordinations, programming and feedback was identified by March and Simon. Programming standardizes work activities for all expected requirements whereas feedback coordinates the exchange of information among staff during the work. Later, in 1992, Mintzberg elaborated on the March and Simon’s coordination mechanism by identifying five different mechanism, mutual adjustment, direct supervision, standardization of work processes,...
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