Organizational Systems and Structures Evaluation
Purpose of the Paper
This paper explores the systems and structures of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL) Health Organization. The institution is faith-based with centers in Colorado, Kansas, and Montana (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). In this paper, key aspects of the organization’s structures that will be analyzed include its mission, vision, values, strategic plans, information technology use, priorities, and culture. A brief description of the organization appears below.
Description of the Organization
Mission, Vision, and Values
The mission statement of SCL is to “reveal and foster God’s healing love by improving the health of the people and communities we serve, especially those who are poor and vulnerable” (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018, p. 1). Similarly, its vision is inspired by faith and it centers on “partnering with patients and communities to exceed their expectations for health” (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018, p. 1). Since SCL is a faith-based organization, it is fueled by a caring spirit, excellence, good humor, integrity, safety, and stewardship as its key values (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018).
Strategic Plan, Goals, and Objectives
The strategic plan of SCL is to provide person-centered health services to individuals and families who need it the most. Specific goals and objectives supporting this plan are premised on its quest for ministry excellence because through the larger framework of organizational operations, SCL is striving to position itself as a person-centered health partner, which is committed to providing quality care for underprivileged communities. (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018).
Key Operational Processes and Patterns
SCL’s operational processes and patterns are based on collaborative work. At the core of this strategy is a willingness to share best practices. Supporting it is also a quest to learn from the best healthcare service providers in the country. The learning organization framework is at the center of the organization’s operational processes and patterns because it strives to make sure that its employees are aware of new knowledge in healthcare service provision, as suggested by Schein (1996). It also facilitates the acceptance and quest to seek new knowledge through continuous improvement processes (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). This view aligns with that of Ratnapalan (2014), which suggests that the provision of quality services is a product of continuous improvement.
Information Technology Use
SCL uses information technology processes for managing its healthcare processes. For example, data management is one aspect of its operations, which is reliant on information processing systems (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). Similarly, the organization uses information-processing tools to coordinate the activities of its various medical centers. The purpose of integrating information management systems this way is to standardize the quality of care among all its facilities, such that the system is not fragmented in terms of the quality of care provided to its patients. Information technology in SCL is part of a larger clinical microsystems framework that acts as building blocks for the institution’s processes (IHI, 2018).
In other words, the integration of information technology tools in the organization’s system acts as a “melting point” for different stakeholders of the health care service plan to meet and have their needs met. For example, in addition to having an information technology system for managing patients’ data, SCL also has another one that manages the operations of healthcare workers, such that they abide by quality standards set by the organization’s management (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). From this example alone, it is plausible to say that the SCL’s information technology system is designed through microsystem building blocks that all add up to the realization of organizational objectives.
Organizational Priorities and Investments, As Indicated By Financial Data
A key hallmark of SCL’s operations is community reinvestments. A core principle that guides its activities and that influences the organization’s priorities is its non-profit nature. This principle is visible in its financial report because the amount of revenue collected is almost the same as its expenses. For instance, according to the company’s financial report, its net operating revenue is $2.54 billion, while its total operating expenses are $2.47 billion (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018).
These figures show that almost all the money generated from the hospital is used for its expenditure on a non-profit basis. An analysis of the company’s financial reports also shows that the organization emphasizes on community development because it has reinvested up to $75.3 million for this purpose (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018).
Coupled with financial aid and charities, its underserved populations have received more than $222.4 million in community health investments (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). Collectively, these statistics demonstrate that SCL’s priorities and investments are in community development and the provision of quality healthcare services within a non-profit framework.
The Essential Elements of the Organization’s Culture
SCL subscribes to a service culture, which is rooted in practices that started from its founders’ quest to provide health care services to underserved populations (more than 150 years ago) (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). The culture is premised on preserving the dignity of life, regardless of economic status. Like other faith-based organizations, the culture is alive to date and affects most aspects of its operations.
However, its services are provided within the framework of religious teachings. In this regard, its service culture is premised on providing holistic care by recognizing that healing not only involves physical nourishment but also “spiritual awakening” (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). Therefore, whether one subscribes to these religious teachings or not, they are guaranteed that they will get dignified services from the institution.
The Influence of Culture in Meeting Organizational Goals
Culture is a powerful tool for improving healthcare systems (Hartnell, Ou & Kinicki 2011). As highlighted in the subsections of above, SCL subscribes to a service culture. The focus on service has infiltrated its culture because instead of providing health care services for profit, as is the case with most organizations, it does so in the service of poor, vulnerable, and underserved populations. This type of culture is one, which elevates the need for quality patient care in the realization of organizational goals (Bellot, 2011). At the same time, it influences its everyday decisions, actions, and operations.
Centered on the need for providing quality service, every health worker in the organization appreciates the need for providing quality services to their clients and always strives to attain excellence in the process (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018).
The information provided in this paper demonstrates that SCL’s systems and structures could be evaluated using the clinical microsystem and learning organization frameworks. Service is at the center of its culture because it is non-profit in nature and its focus is on addressing the health care needs of underserved populations. From this assessment, the service culture emerges as a strong pillar of the organization’s operations. It also supports its quest to continually improve and addresses the needs of underserved populations as its core focus.
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Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System. (2018). About us. Web.
Quality Improvement Issue
Equity is a quality improvement issue that emerges from the analysis of SCL’s operations because the organization mainly focuses on serving the needs of one type of demographic – vulnerable populations (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). Equity is one of the six domains of healthcare quality highlighted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (AHRQ, 2018). The other five are safety, effectiveness, patient-centered, timeliness, and efficiency (AHRQ 2018).
The main premise for highlighting equity as a core issue worth investigating further is the understanding that quality healthcare should be provided to all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, geographical location and other demographic variables (Sadeghi, Barzi, Mikhail & Shabot, 2013). However, the analysis of SCL’s operational processes and culture shows that the organization is mainly focused on serving underprivileged populations (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). This means that people who do not fit this profile may be discriminated or fail to get health care services that match their requirements.
This concern arises from the fact that SCL’s entire system and procedures are designed to match the needs of the underprivileged (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, 2018). Consequently, it may be difficult to understand how healthcare services provided by the organization are equitable for people who do not fit this description. Several reasons could explain this gap, but WHO (2018), Hickey and Brosnan (2017) say it is impossible to achieve complete equality in healthcare service provision because of human influences, which are imperfect as well. However, in the context of the activities of SCL, this issue needs to be investigated further.
AHRQ. (2018). The six domains of health care quality. Web.
Hickey, J. V., & Brosnan, C. A. (2017). Evaluation of health care quality in for DNPs (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Sadeghi, S., Barzi, A., Mikhail, O., & Shabot, M. M. (2013). Integrating quality and strategy in healthcare organizations. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System. (2018). About us. Web.
WHO. (2018). Equity. Web.