Managing hospital doctors and their practice: what can we learn about human resource management from non-healthcare organisations?

Authors:
Timothy M Trebble
Timothy M Trebble
University of Southampton
United Kingdom
Nicola Heyworth
Nicola Heyworth
Department of Human Resources
Nicholas Clarke
Nicholas Clarke
University of Southampton
United Kingdom
Timothy Powell
Timothy Powell
King's College London
London | United Kingdom
Peter M Hockey
Peter M Hockey
Brigham and Women's Hospital
United States

BMC Health Serv Res 2014 Nov 21;14:566. Epub 2014 Nov 21.

Background: Improved management of clinicians' time and practice is advocated to address increasing demands on healthcare provision in the UK National Health Service (NHS). Human resource management (HRM) is associated with improvements in organisational performance and outcomes within and outside of healthcare, but with limited use in managing individual clinicians. This may reflect the absence of effective and transferrable models.

Methods: The current systems of managing the performance of individual clinicians in a secondary healthcare organisation were reviewed through the study of practice in 10 successful partnership organisations, including knowledge worker predominant, within commercial, public and voluntary sector operating environments. Reciprocal visits to the secondary healthcare environment were undertaken.

Results: Six themes in performance related HRM were identified across the external organisations representing best practice and considered transferrable to managing clinicians in secondary care organisations. These included: performance measurement through defined outcomes at the team level with decision making through local data interpretation; performance improvement through empowered formal leadership with organisational support; individual performance review (IPR); and reward, recognition and talent management. The role of the executive was considered essential to support and implement effective HRM, with management of staff performance, behaviour and development integrated into organisational strategy, including through the use of universally applied values and effective communication. These approaches reflected many of the key aspects of high performance work systems and strategic HRM.

Conclusions: There is the potential to develop systems of HRM of individual clinicians in secondary healthcare to improve practice. This should include both performance measurement and performance improvement but also engagement at an organisational level. This suggests that effective HRM and performance management of individual clinicians may be possible but requires an alternative approach for the NHS.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-014-0566-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245740PMC
November 2014
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