Sep 5, 2019 in Analysis

Systems Theory in Health Care Organizations

The world we live in is an undoubtedly complex system composed of subsystems that interact with each other mutually. According to the systems theory, each of the subsystems has clearly defined boundaries and coherent dynamics. First suggested by a biologist named Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the 1930s, the theory has facilitated the simplification of the world’s complexity by making it more understandable. Overall, the systems theory is useful because it enables us to comprehend how the things around us work. The systems theory has diverse uses in different fields, but one that remains more notable is the health care field. Here, the systems theory can be used to clearly and concisely understand health care structures, processes, and outcomes, as well as their interaction with the healthcare system. It can be used as a framework to describe the components of a system and the relationship between these constituents, the boundaries of the system, and the goals of the system. Overall, the systems theory allows us to access, visualize, analyze, and understand the structures, processes, and feedback loops that constitute an organization clearly. The implication is that it provides a meaningful and useful means of examining challenges in health care organizations. In this paper, we will discuss the aspect of systems theory in health care organizations. 

Description of the Department

My organization is Utah Community and Referral Hospital, and within it is the cancer care and therapy department. The departments’ workforce usually comprises oncology nurses mainly concerned with providing care for cancer patients and those at risk of getting the disease. The nurses’ main roles include monitoring the physical conditions, prescribing medications, and administering chemotherapy and other useful treatments to help improve the patients’ conditions. The department serves more than 50 patients daily and is thus considered among the most important departments within the Utah Community and Referral Hospital. 

Just like any other subsystem, the cancer care and therapy department of the Utah Community and Referral Hospital exhibits inputs, throughput, output, cycles of events, and negative feedbacks. Firstly are the inputs and outputs, which go hand-in-hand. Inputs refer to what is fed into the system while the outputs refer to the results obtained by running a process on the system. For the cancer care and therapy department, inputs include labor and the efforts of oncology nurses, running costs for the department, and contracted services from other medical professionals.  The outputs include the number of patient visits, the prescriptions dispensed, the hospital services offered, and patient outcomes. 

Next, we look at the throughput, which refers to the process through which the available resource are transformed so as to meet all the desired needs. It can also be said to refer to what healthcare providers do with a patient thus converting the inputs into services. The department’s throughput includes the application of the nurses’ professional and educational skills to deliver services. Finally are the cycle of processes and negative feedback. The cycles of events refer to all the systems that are utilized in all the processes. Also useful is the aspect of negative feedback. It is useful as it ensures that the process is amended to remain efficient and productive as required. A combination of these aspects is useful in minimizing costs and increasing the value of health care services. 

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Description of the Problem Identified

One outstanding problem identified with the department is that it does not operate at its full capacity because it is underequipped with the necessary chemotherapy equipment. Initially, the department had more than enough sets of equipment to serve the small community. Nevertheless, there has been a substantial growth in the number of patients seeking cancer care services at the facility. Other hospitals offering cancer care services are located far away, and thus, patients in the neighboring regions opt to visit Utah Community and Referral Hospital, which is cheaper and more accessible. For these reasons, it has become difficult to accommodate the increasing number of patients. The problems facing the cancer care and therapy department of the Utah Community and Referral Hospital are throughput problems because they entail processes. There is a dire need for the incorporation of more equipment. Besides, such equipment must be advanced so that they can provide the patients with more efficient and successful treatments. 

Addressing the Problem

Formulation of Desired Outcomes

Among the goals and objectives that the department seeks to achieve include providing safe and affordable cancer care and therapy services to an increasing number of deserving patients. The department also seeks to help patients through a variety of skilled treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapies. Moreover, the department also seeks to optimize recovery from the effects of oncogenic conditions such as chronic pains. 

Goals and Objectives That Would Facilitate Outcome

The department will rely on the following goals and objectives in striving to achieve its outcomes. Firstly, the services will be based on sound therapeutic knowledge, and personalized approach to patient needs and desires. Secondly, the services will try as much as possible to promote the involvement of patients and their families. Thirdly, all the services will be geared towards the welfare of consumers with respect and dignity. Fourthly, all the oncology nurses and other medical professionals involved will receive on-going professional training so that they will have updated skills in the treatment interventions. These are imperative for effectiveness in promoting the recovery of patients. Finally, all the staff members will be involved in assuring the quality of all direct and indirect services extended to the patients through participation as teams. 

Translating Goals and Objectives into Policies and Procedures

The department will have an extensive range of policies and procedures to cover both clinical and corporate activities. These will comprise:

  • Openness
  • Confidentiality Code of Conduct
  • Continuous incorporation of new clinical procedures, methods, and techniques
  • Training, education, and development support
  • Freedom of information
  • Promoting equal opportunities for accessing healthcare
  • Patient information and data protection

Professional Standards

The department will highlight an emphasis on three professional standards in striving for an efficient cancer care and therapy departments. These include professional accountability and responsibility, knowledge-based practice, and client-focused provision of care. 

To begin with is professional accountability and responsibility. All the nurses and medical practitioners will be required to maintain the prescribed standards of health care practice by the relevant professional bodies. They will be required to be accountable and take responsibility for their actions and professional conduct. Besides, they will function within their levels of competence and within the legally recognized scope of practice and all relevant legislations. 

Secondly is the professional standard of knowledge-based practice. The nurses and other involved medical personnel will be required to apply knowledge, skills, and judgment in their practice consistently. They will base their practice on current evidence from nursing science and humanities. Besides, they will be required to know how to access information to support the provision of safe and competent and ethical client care. 

Finally is a client-focused provision of care. The oncology nurses will provide nursing services and works in the best interest of the patients. The nurses will communicate, collaborate, and consult with patients and other members of the health care teams about the client’s care. Besides, they will coordinate patient’s care in ways that facilitate the continuity of care for the patient. 

How the Proposed Problem Resolution Would Uphold the Organization’s Mission and Values and Improve the Culture and Climate

Apparently, values, goals, and objective are necessary if an organization is to achieve success. They serve as a guide to help the organization and its workforce remain on course when times get tough. Besides, they minimize destruction from by unimportant matters. Overall, they provide benefits in the areas of planning, motivation, and attainment of fast results. The resolution provided for the problem identified revolved around outcomes, goals and objectives, and policies and procedures. A combination of these is useful in allowing the department in question, as well as the entire organization to gain a future direction, which acts as a map for everyday decision-making processes. They also provide a step-by-step plan on how to achieve changes and accomplish goals. 

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