Harvard Business Review

Hospitals Can’t Improve Without Better Management Systems

By John Toussaint

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

Hospital management frustrated by the lack of enduring reform in the cost and quality of health care need look no further than the mirror. Management by objective undermines the work of frontline improvement teams and must change.

Understand how old-style management gets in the way of reform and, more importantly, learn a promising new approach. An examination of 160 health care organizations in 16 countries reveals the attributes of a successful approach. Examples  from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Seattle Children’s, Salem Health, and others illustrate the importance of defining a clear purpose (not dozens of strategic initiatives), identifying critical metrics, and establishing core principles.