Hospital pharmacies can usually be found within the premises of a hospital. They usually stock a larger range of medications, including more specialized and investigational medications (medicines that are being studied, but have not yet been approved), than would be feasible in the community setting. Hospital pharmacies typically provide medications for the hospitalized patients only, and are not retail establishments. They typically do not provide prescription service to the public. Some hospitals do have retail pharmacies within, which sell over-the-counter as well as prescription medications to the public, but these are not the actual hospital pharmacy.
Some Areas of Research in Hospital Management
As stated elsewhere, the research perspectives in hospital management need to be specified on two counts. Firstly, the utilities of hospital management research for the benefit of the hospital itself. Secondly, the contributions of research to the effectiveness of hospital managers, while bringing about professionalism in this emerging discipline in the years to come. Thus, the following sections are delineated to these two issues of research in hospital management.
Research in Functional areas of Hospital Management Finance Management
Finances act as lifelines in the hospitals as almost all of them are owner driven. Its management is an art and merits special attention. The financial function of management in hospital is to i) ensure fair return on investment, ii) generate and build-up surplus and reserves for growth and iii) plan, direct and control the utilization of finances so as to ensure the maximum efficiency of operations and build a proper relationship with chemists, staff and consultants.
Health insurance covered approximately 86% of all services provided by hospitals (Health Insurance Institute, 1982).
The objective of materials management is to ensure regular supply of materials to maintain continuity of production/services and thus contribute towards excellence in productivity (Ojha, 1997).
Research in material management is conducted basically to continuously streamline materials and supplies for providing proper service to patients. There are numerous types of materials that are required for running a hospital. The larger the size of the hospital, the greater is the number of items needed. Research on the cost and utility of materials is imperative. Therefore, the hospital material items need to be classified into medical and non-medical. Under medical classification, i) medicines, ii) medical and surgical supplies, iii) Diagnostic Instruments and maintenance supplies eg. X-rays supplies, C T Scan, iv) laboratory supplies and v) Basic Supplies like beddings, toiletries, clothing etc. are dealt with.
Human Resources Management
A constant monitoring of the status of human resources in the healthcare and hospital settings is a pre- requisite for strategically positioning the organisations in the competing environment. This also seems reasonable from the point of view that human resources are the most important, with out which the other factors of production/service will remain static. Thus, assessing the total organizational climate and its impact on the membership variables is need of the hour. Such assessment enables the management to strengthen the individual-organisational interface so that managers may not often question themselves: “I wish I had a highly motivated, competent staff working for me”.
Marketing management in hospitals is concerned with the conceptualization of services, pricing, promotion and distribution of such services in the light of the environment which is always changing. Though marketing of hospital services is yet to emerge as a distinct hospital function, market- oriented hospital is the one whose actions are based upon the recognition that the patient is the raison d’e ? tre of the organization.
In the recent times, both practitioners and academicians have almost completely turned their focus from facilities planning to market planning (Richard, C.I, 1977). One aspect of marketing of particular interest has been that of hospital marketing research.
Gourley and Sehron (1996) in their classic review of research studies in hospital marketing identified that a large percent (43.6%) of hospitals are involved in marketing research and only 7.6% are not. With regard to types of marketing research, they found that most frequently performed research (76.8%) was based on patient needs and/or satisfaction studies.
Utilization of Research for managerial effectiveness in hospital
The topic managerial effectiveness, has been thrust to the forefront during the past decade. The issues of productivity and quality of working life and the dynamics of foreign competition, increased environmental uncertainty, and the changing nature of the work force have all put the manager in the spotlight in one way or the other. As a manager, keen interest in one’s own effectiveness as well as in the effectiveness of one’s subordinate managers is warranted. Thus, in the following sections, attention is directed towards existing research related to improving managerial effectiveness and highlighting the knowledge and skills that make it possible.
There are four areas that are clearly related to managerial effectiveness: managerial thinking, managerial roles/style, and goal setting and performance evaluation and conflict management.
Future of Research in Hospital Management
From the preceding sections, it can be concluded that research in hospital management does not imply any specific trend to state since, most of the studies are sparse, varied, and are not based on a standard approach. Partly, on the basis of the reported studies, it could be said that most of the research issues are centered on medical than management aspects. Secondly, there seems to lack systematic research design in many of them.
Thus, here is a need to have an attitude towards management research in hospitals. In one of the studies, comparing attitudes towards research of management and management developers revealed that managers believed academic researchers often insufficiently familiar with the managerial culture and so lacking credibility initiated research. For the most part managers seemed to believe that management research was not only not-cost effective but also, more critically, largely irrelevant to the problems they faced. It is suggested that healthcare managers be equipped to act as researchers in their own organizations by building upon what effective managers actually do in practice. The facets of effectiveness like managerial thinking, roles/style, goal setting and performance evaluation and conflict management could be immediately subjected to research for a fresh understanding of this facet in hospitals.
(Final Year B.Pharm.)