There is an array of books on how health care should best be managed. Here, we present our pick of the prescriptions.
by Jim Champy and Harry Greenspun (FT Press, 2010)
Champy was co-author of the landmark book, Re-engineering the Corporation, which showed how businesses could retool the processes they used to achieve dramatic cost savings, greater customer satisfaction and more value. In this book, he and his co-author (a doctor of medicine) show how this proven re-engineering methodology can be applied to health care (including physician practices, hospitals and whole health systems) to improve quality, reduce costs and expand access. They urge a focus on prevention and wellness, explore ways to use technology to better deliver services and reduce costs, and provide examples of successes, such as Lenox Hill Hospital’s ER.
by Clayton M. Christensen, Jerome H. Grossman and Jason Hwang (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
Christensen is the author of the best-selling The Innovator’s Dilemma, which explored how the development of new technologies can create an entirely new value proposition, disrupting the normal results of innovation. Here he and his co-authors (both doctors) look at the technological enablers of disruption in order to explain how various aspects of the health care system such as the hospital business model, the physician practice business model, the reimbursement system and medical education can be effectively disrupted to produce more cost-effective and accessible health care.
by Michael E. Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg (Harvard Business School Press, 2006)
Porter and Teisberg (authorities on strategy, competition and innovation) propose a focus on value (as measured by health outcomes per dollar expended) to reform the health care system. As current competition in the health care field has failed to provide an accessible, equitable system at reasonable cost, they assert that the nature of competition itself must be reformed. It’s not acceptable for providers to shift costs, increase bargaining power or deny services to patients in need. The key is to provide real value for patients, not excessive profits for health care providers. By boosting competition in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of specific health conditions, hospitals, doctors, health plans, employers and policy makers can truly revolutionise health care.
by Keiran Walshe and Judith Smith [editors] (Open University Press, 2006)
This volume, aimed at researchers, managers and health care policymakers, examines the health care practices and policies that pose the greatest challenge to those managing health care organisations. It looks at different health care sectors (such as primary care, acute care and mental health; partnerships with other agencies; and health care information systems and technology) in order to provide guidance to those in training or in the field who want a guide to the theories, issues and skills needed for effective leadership. The chapters include self-test exercises, summary boxes, further reading and lists of Web-based resources.
by Jean Hartley and John Benington (Policy Press, 2010)
Aimed at those who have leadership positions in health care organisations, especially the British National Health Service (as well as those in government, education, housing, leisure services, the police, fire services and the voluntary sector), this book provides a set of a half-dozen lenses aimed at exploring the leadership literature relevant to health care. It looks beyond the idea of leadership as something performed by an individual, arguing instead that leadership must be understood and developed in terms of the actions and practices of many people within a broad range of areas that affect the health of the population.
by Thomas H. Lee and James J. Mongan (MIT Press, 2009)
These two doctors believe that tight organisational structures will help put an end to the chaos in the current system that results in high costs and inefficient care. They explore a number of specific examples of successes (such as Geisinger Health Systems and Virginia Mason Medical Centre) to show changes that work — including salaried physicians, electronic medical records and other technologies, aggressive treatment regimes, programmes to coordinate the care of the sickest patients and team-based care. Although they present many ways that they believe costs can be lowered, there is very little in the way of detailed financial analyses of these ideas.
by Leonard L. Berry and Kent D. Seltman (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
Based on numerous in-depth interviews and observations of staff, patients, clinicians and the interactions between them, the book is filled with praise for this remarkably successful institution; but it fails to offer comparisons to other institutions or specifics on how things that make Mayo special could be replicated. It is, however, useful for concrete examples of approaches that work at Mayo, including the team approach to health care (made easier by the fact that all of its physicians are employed directly by Mayo and are paid on a salary basis), Mayo’s early entry into integrating medical records and its use of technology to improve access to those records, as well as the strong channels of communication between administrators and physicians.
by Stephen Morris, Nancy Devlin and David Parkin (John Wiley, 2007)
This comparative study explores the economics of health care systems and evaluates health care technologies. Basically a textbook for students with knowledge of economic analysis, it presents case studies from the UK and other countries and analyses decision making by individuals, health care providers and governments. While based in economic theory, it also explores such diverse subjects as the behaviour of patients, doctors and hospitals, and analytical techniques developed to aid in decisions about resource allocation. It carefully explains that health choices must be made on the basis of how much health care costs, who pays for it and how it is distributed.
by T.R. Reid (Penguin, 2009)
The author compares health care services across the globe, a study triggered by his own experiences while seeking help for a chronic problem in the countries in which he served as a Washington Post correspondent. His health condition led him to travel around the world, visiting doctors in places as diverse as Britain, Taiwan, France, Germany, Sweden and India to see how their systems differed. He discovered that, in most nations, health care costs are far lower than in the United States, while the outcomes are better. He notes the problems of other countries as well as their successes and points to the universal problems arising as a result of aging populations and the development of expensive new technologies.