According to the majority of the research studies, information technology is believed to improve patient safety and increase the accuracy of diagnosis (Bowles, 2015). Nevertheless, the case of Springfield General Hospital clearly showed that implementation of IT system only “made it worse”, and a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) increased the number of medical errors (Spector, 2013). This situation pertains to the fact that a hospital is a complex mechanism, and its success is dependent on the collaborative functioning of various departments while being unified by the same goals and objectives. Consequently, despite having positive intentions and aiming at improving the quality of the provided care, it is unreasonable to rely on information technology solely, as organizational alignment, effective implementation of theoretical concepts of change, and a corresponding sequence of technology have more influence on structural integrity and performance.
In this context, the primary goal of the paper is to show with the help of the example of Springfield General Hospital that IT can be discovered as a supplemental mechanism while other components such as human resources, corporate integrity, compliance of the actions with goals, and change management shape the structure of the hospital and define its competitive edge. Overall, to find arguments for the thesis statement, it will be of paramount important to conduct the sufficient analysis of the case study. It will not only describe the major gaps in the functioning of Springfield General Hospital but also help develop various methods to improve its organizational performance and resolve the issue of medication mistakes. Discovering this case from dissimilar managerial perspectives will assist in proposing effective solutions that cover different people alignment efforts, theories of change implementation, and a sequencing of new technology.
People Alignment Efforts
Nowadays, information technology is highly integrated into the hospital settings, as it is one of the instruments used to minimize medical errors and improve the quality of the provided care (Bowles, 2015). Nonetheless, apart from beneficial intentions of technology, sometimes, it has an adverse impact on the performance of the medical institution. Springfield General Hospital is one of the examples, as, after the implementation of CPOE, the issues such as incorrect dosage continued to exist (Spector, 2013).
To decrease the frequency of these errors, in the first place, it is essential to describe organizational goals, objectives, and values. This step will help indicate the company’s mission statement. Thus, requirements, guidelines, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and reward system can be utilized as control instruments to monitor the progress and motivate physicians and nurses (Magee, 2015). For example, the medical institution has to focus on ensuring the alignment of its mission statement with the actions of the employees and their personal career development plans to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts (Magee, 2015). In this instance, the values of customer-centered care have to be reflected and equally respected by all members of the organization, as mutual understanding of the significance of these principles will help not only minimize medical errors but also make employees more attentive and responsible.
Nonetheless, mistakes in the dosage of medication may incur due to the lack of required knowledge among working professionals. Conducting this analysis will help indicate potential reasons for these errors and propose effective strategies such as providing training or hiring specialists to fill these gaps. Overall, it could be said that a combination of these phases clearly underlines the significance of internal communication between different levels of subordination and paramount impact of integrity on decision-making, quality of the provided care, and organizational performance.
Theories of Change Implementation to Minimize Medication Mistakes
Apart from the critical importance of people alignment efforts, one cannot underrate a pivotal role of change management. One of the most appropriate theoretical models is a model of planned behavior, and it implies that the major aspects that define one’s intentions are linked to one’s attitudes, values, and normative guidelines (Jex & Britt, 2014; Rush, 2014). Using this approach helps identify a rationale for one’s behavior and determine the tools that can be utilized to modify the actions and intentions (Rush, 2014). In the context of this case study, this method will define the reasons for medical errors such as lack of knowledge and motivation, a disturbing interface of the software, misinterpretation of company’s values, and absence of communication with the employees from other departments. Thus, to resolve these issues, decreasing a communicational gap between different levels of subordination, inspiring the employees, and improving interface can be discovered as potential outcomes in the context of Springfield General Hospital.
Alternatively, social learning theory is also suitable in this context, and it implies that the individuals tend to learn from trials (Cheung, Fong, Zhang, Kwan, & Kwok, 2016). In this instance, applying the principles of this model to Springfield General Hospital will change the attitudes towards mistakes, as, now, they can be discovered as not only a negative event but also as a learning opportunity and possibility for improvement. In this instance, it will highlight rationale for errors and help reveal potential ways for improvement.
Furthermore, one cannot underestimate a paramount importance of planned change theory, as it prepares the individuals for modifications (unfreezing), implements the novelties (changing), and ensures that the situation is stabilized (refreezing) (Shirey, 2013). In the context of the presented case, it will not only help make a successful transition to a new software that fills different gaps but also will motivate the employees to comply with new goals, values, and KPIs and contribute to organizational excellence while decreasing the frequency of medical mistakes. Nonetheless, all theories mentioned above, have to be used in a combination to restore the image of the company and improve its performance.
A Sequencing of New Technology
The analysis of Springfield General Hospital revealed that information technology might have an adverse effect on the quality of the provided services. Consequently, paying attention to its mapping and design is of high importance, as it will help to avoid similar situations in future. In the first place, the organization has to focus on unfreezing stage. In this instance, the analysis of the previous system, employee’s attitudes, and the reasons for mistakes has to be conducted to understand the required changes that have to be made. Taking into account these modifications can provide a relevant rationale for the implementation of a new custom application and design a suitable training that will cover the understanding of the system, its key features, working mechanism, and instructions.
In this case, critical modifications in the system will include changing the markers on the windows (interface) to reduce confusion and conducting a continuous analysis of information leading to mistakes. These matters will integrate the philosophies of social learning and planned behavior while taking advantage of previous drawbacks. During the implementation stage, the actions will be controlled with the help of managers and IT specialists, who will assure that the employees have a clear understanding of the system. Lastly, to guarantee that a new application is implemented successfully, it is vital to provide continuous assistance of qualified professionals, ensure integration between departments, design relevant KPIs, and analyze data concerning mistakes regularly.
Summary of the Main Points
To summarize, the case study revealed that for successful implementation and usage of technology the organization could not underestimate the significance of human resource management and strategy alignment. Ensuring organizational integrity and filling the existent gaps with training and hiring new professionals are critical people alignment efforts. Simultaneously, concepts such as the theory of planned behavior and social learning model can help understand different phases of implementation process while planned change philosophy determines a flow of sequencing technology. When designing a new application and introducing modifications to software, it is essential to analyze the aspects leading to these changes and develop effective training programs and monitoring and control tools such as regular assistance and KPIs.
Lessons Learned and Recommendations
As for lessons learned and recommendations, it was discovered that success of the company is not solely dependent on the quality of IT system, and other aspects such as organizational alignment, sufficient implementation of theoretical concepts of change, and effective sequence of technology are of paramount importance. In this instance, one of the critical lessons is the fact that any organization has to take advantage of the workforce as the major asset, as it pertains to corporate integrity, performance, motivation, and alignment. Consequently, speaking of specific recommendations, the company has to develop effective training programs and a new custom application that will satisfy the needs of the employees while relying on theories of change implementation. These matters will not only help the medical institution to decrease the number of dosage mistakes but also will enhance the overall financial performance. Simultaneously, the hospital has to cherish errors made in the past and use this knowledge for analytical purposes. Paying attention to the organizational values and alignment will help cultivate integrity in Springfield General Hospital while encouraging knowledge and information sharing between departments. Overall, the recommendations mentioned above have to be applied simultaneously, as their combination will have a positive impact on the company’s success and technology implementation.
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Rush, V. (2014). Planned behavior: Theory, applications, and perspectives. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishing, Inc.
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