Abstract for: Improving Strategic Management of Hospitals: Addressing Functional Interdependencies within Medical Care

To better understand the performance of hospital operations in response to IT-enabled improvement, we report the results of a system dynamics model designed to improve core medical processes. Utilizing system dynamics modeling and emerging HIS data, we demonstrate how current behavior within the hospital leads to a ‘stove-pipe’ effect, in which each functional group employs policies that are rational at the group level, but that lead to inefficiencies at the hospital level. We recommend management improvements in both materials and staff utilization to address the stove-pipe effect, and estimate the resultant cost-saving. We believe that the major gains in health information systems use will accompany new information gathering capabilities, as these capabilities result in collections of data that can be used to greatly improve patient safety, hospital operations, and medical decision support.