Treating An Unhealthy Patient Flow
Sammanfattning: The healthcare sector is of high complexity with several inefficiencies identified in various aspects of it. Simultaneously, factors such as an aging population increase future demand for healthcare, pointing towards the importance of achieving high-quality healthcare at a competitive cost. This thesis examines important factors to consider when managing flows in general, and how the management of patient flows are handled in organizations that differ in terms of type and geographical place. To examine this, a qualitative study was conducted, with in-depth interviews at three different hospitals: two in Sweden and one in the United Arab Emirates. The focus was to examine how three different hospitals are working towards achieving an efficient patient flow and how potential inefficiencies in the patient flow can be improved. This study adopts the perspectives of working methods and leadership, by setting them in relation to each other while analyzing patient flows in healthcare; something that has not been done in a usable way previously. The conclusions included the need for preventing potential tensions created between clinical workers and managerial employees and that the understanding of everyday operations among top management is important in aspects such as change management. Further, the implementation of standardized processes, a separation of the acute and elective, i.e. planned flows, and adopting a lean or agile approach are identified factors for efficient processes. Also, the managerial impact on patient flows involves changing procedures to motivate and educate clinical employees, implementing a teamwork culture, and making organizational goals salient in the minds of employees. Lastly, the study shows that a bottom-up approach is generally preferable to a top-down point of view, based on the strength of the medical profession and increased chances of implementation in the complexity of the healthcare environment.
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