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LDR-615 Contemporary Organization Evaluation

LDR-615 Contemporary Organization Evaluation

As the demand for quality and cost-effective health care increases, health care organizations must be highly innovative and respond to situations effectively. In this fast-paced industry, organizational change is inevitable. New policies and guidelines, disruptive technologies, and government regulations are typical change triggers. Considering that change outcomes depend on the intervention responses, organizations’ management should understand the change process and how to respond effectively. Currently, health care organizations apply different strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic depending on regulatory guidelines. This paper discusses change response strategies at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Focus areas include the organization’s description, change analysis, response strategies, implications, and necessary modifications.

Organization Description and Change

LDR615 Contemporary Organization Evaluation
LDR615 Contemporary Organization Evaluation

MUSC is a public medical school in South Carolina whose primary purpose is to optimize human life through its vision of leading health innovation in the lives it touches. MUSC serves as the only comprehensive academic health center in South Carolina (Medical University of South Carolina, n.d.). Its mission is to provide excellence in three pivotal areas that guide its everyday operations- patient care, research, and teaching. By partnering with MUSC Children’s Health, MUSC Health provides advanced care in South Carolina via hospitals, technologies (telehealth) and an extensive network of doctors (Medical University of South Carolina, n.d.). It is a highly rated organization overall as far as public health is organization.

Like many other health care institutions, MUSC was not immune to the institutional changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization is still responding to the government’s directive to practice social distancing and intensify COVID-19 screening and testing (Valenta et al., 2020). From an operation viewpoint, most health care organizations were used to physical patient visits pre-COVID. However, due to the need to keep social distance, management challenges, and unpredictability of the pandemic, health care organizations were forced to restructure and reinvent their approaches to care. In line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients with suspected COVID-19 were advised to use virtual visits instead of presenting to an emergency room for testing (Weigel et al., 2020). The government also intervened through new guidelines, further compelling health care organizations to adjust systems and processes.

Degree of Change and Response Strategies

Besides technological disruptions, government guidelines force health care organizations to make significant process and system

LDR-615 Contemporary Organization Evaluation
LDR-615 Contemporary Organization Evaluation

changes. In terms of distraction, the change has been significant, affecting many practice areas in MUSC. Valenta et al. (2020) noted that MUSC experienced a dramatic decline in ambulatory operations following the government social distancing guidelines. It was also forced to make significant system changes to covert successfully to virtual care as the government directed. MUSC is still adapting as vaccination and other institutional and government-sponsored efforts to control the pandemic intensify.

MUSC has responded to the dynamics created by the change by integrating technology in care. Primarily through telehealth, MUSC has been able to provide care virtually to ensure that patient needs are met while reducing COVID-19 exposure (Valenta et al., 2020). Telehealth has been a valuable tool to enable medical care continuity during a crisis. Its facilitation has been further improved by regulatory agencies loosening some restrictions on telehealth and more payers agreeing to reimburse for COVID-19 (McGhee, 2020). As MUSC continues to make system changes and maximize virtual care outcomes, it also organizes COVID-19 reimbursement as it would for other medical services.

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Strategies Used in the Change Plan

MUSC combined several strategies to maximize telehealth outcomes in response to the government’s COVID-19 control guidelines. According to McGhee (2020), MUSC established virtual screening and mobile testing sites for patients with suspected COVID across South Carolina. The second strategy was a remote home-monitoring program primarily for patients with less severe COVID-19. The other important strategy was a telesitter program for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Regarding success, each strategy impacted outcomes differently but positively. Virtual screening and mobile testing sites have been integral in determining the risk level and interventions required. Testing and testing promotes early intervention. A remote home monitoring program reduces contact as much as possible to control the spread of COVID-19. As Valenta et al. (2020) highlighted, a telessiter program enables health care providers to monitor and communicate with patients through an audiovisual monitor. Doing so minimizes health care providers to COVID-19 and helps them to preserve personal protective equipment.

Effect of Change on Stakeholders

Stakeholders are key change drivers in health care organizations since they can support or resist change. Since organizational change affects stakeholders directly, chances of successful change vary according to stakeholder support and resistance (Valenta et al., 2020). The shift from primarily ambulatory to predominantly virtual care affected stakeholders significantly. According to Valenta et al. (2020), MUSC leaders had to work towards new goals and visions as their routine roles changed. For instance, instead of organizing how patients would be received and attended to when seeking medical help, MUSC leaders started planning how to facilitate care across populations via telehealth. Health care teams required restructuring and reorganization to ensure that they embraced change and accepted new roles.

Organizational preparedness reduced resistance to change considerably. According to McGhee (2020), major stakeholders, including leaders, medical directors, and departmental heads, worked collaboratively to build a unified response. Resistance was further reduced by adequate preparation for change since the state of South Carolina had invested in telehealth programs in MUSC for a long time. The investment had increased expertise in health care teams and readiness to pivot when COVID-19 arrived (Valenta et al., 2020). As a result, shifting to virtual care via telehealth was implementing change at the right time. “No one ever said no, even if they were required to work into later hours” (McGhee, 2020). Stakeholders knew the change had to happen hence maximum support.

Implications on Interdepartmental Collaboration

Organizational change affects departmental relationships, and collaboration is vital for successful change adoption. Shifting to virtual care compelled MUSC leaders and departments to work together since the change affected them equally. According to McGhee (2020), the MUSC telehealth team and bioinformatics experts worked together to accelerate the change process. The bioinformatics team reached the extent of shelving its research roles to enable MUSC to meet the urgent clinical need. The interdepartmental collaboration was excellent, and other organizations can learn from it. However, everything depends on the organization’s culture and how it prepares its members to react to change.

Leaders Planning and Preparation

From a personal viewpoint, MUSC leaders responded effectively and had prepared for the change. It is also right to deduce that preparation was instrumental in facilitating the effortless transition to virtual care. Valenta et al. (2020) noted that preparation to provide care virtually started before the first COVID-19 case was reported in South Carolina. The work on telehealth technologies was an institutional project that MUSC improved as time advanced. Anticipating change depicts an organization with a change-driven culture, instrumental in earning employees support and reducing resistance.

The response from leaders was effective too. James McElligott, the MUSC Health Center’s executive medical director for telehealth, reported how leaders had a battlefield-type mentality to form a new structure (McGhee, 2020). Furthermore, the hospital leadership gave telehealth leaders full support. With the colleagues in bioinformatics providing technical and logistical support, the entire team worked towards a new vision as they fashioned existing tools to be COVID-19 relevant. The other response strategy is staffing up health care providers to meet the anticipated demand. Generally, an understaffed health care workforce is unproductive. In response, MUSC leaders increased telehealth providers for facilitating virtual urgent care to more than 100 from less than ten (MUSC, 2020). The increased number enabled the new team to work effectively to build a unified response.

Necessary Modifications to Better Address the Change Dynamics

As MUSC continues to provide virtual care and adapt to situations, some modifications are necessary to address the change dynamics better. MUSC must establish a new department dedicated to virtual care in communities. Such a department will develop strategies to facilitate virtual care successfully even post-COVID. It will also establish the mechanisms necessary to reach all populations, such as health education and utilizing mobile health clinics. Additional strategies to assist the organization through this change include strategic planning, progressive project evaluation, and risk assessment. Artificial intelligence to track and interpret data to improve COVID-19 management is essential (Obeid et al., 2020). Other digital technologies should be harnessed to supplement telehealth. A suitable example is mobile apps for contact tracing (Owusu, 2020). In this case, MUSC must develop workable targets, assess the risk levels, and develop effective strategies to meet the desired goals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, change is inevitable in the current, fast-paced health practice. An effective response to change requires health care organizations to anticipate change and cultivate a change culture. MUSC demonstrates what anticipating, planning, and responding to change effectively involves. As discussed in this paper, MUSC shift to virtual care following government social distancing guidelines and increased demand for COVID-19 screening was smooth due to adequate planning and resource facilitation. Leaders also worked collaboratively as required during change implementation.

References

Ford, D., Harvey, J. B., McElligott, J., King, K., Simpson, K. N., Valenta, S., … & Lenert, L. A. (2020). Leveraging health system telehealth and informatics infrastructure to create a continuum of services for COVID-19 screening, testing, and treatment. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association27(12), 1871-1877. https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocaa157

McGhee, K. (2020). Telehealth rapidly scales up during the pandemic to provide care to patients in the safety of their homes. MUSC. https://web.musc.edu/about/news-center/2020/09/10/telehealth-covid19-response

Medical University of South Carolina. (n.d.). We’re changing what’s possible. https://web.musc.edu/

MUSC. (2020). Patients who use MUSC Health virtual urgent care offered access to drive-through respiratory specimen collection site. https://web.musc.edu/about/leadership/institutional-offices/communications/pamr/news-releases/2020/patients-who-use-virtual-urgent-care-have-access-to-drive-through-respiratory-specimen-site

Obeid, J. S., Davis, M., Turner, M., Meystre, S. M., Heider, P. M., O’Bryan, E. C., & Lenert, L. A. (2020). An artificial intelligence approach to COVID-19 infection risk assessment in virtual visits: A case report. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association27(8), 1321-1325. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocaa105

Owusu, P. N. (2020). Digital technology applications for contact tracing: the new promise for COVID-19 and beyond?. Global Health Research and Policy5(1), 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41256-020-00164-1

Weigel, G., Ramaswamy, A., Sobel, L., Salganicoff, A., Cubanski, J., & Freed, M. (2020). Opportunities and barriers for telemedicine in the U.S. during the covid-19 emergency and beyond. KFF. https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/opportunities-and-barriers-for-telemedicine-in-the-u-s-during-the-covid-19-emergency-and-beyond/

Leaders often face a myriad of obstacles and objections from stakeholders when implementing change within an organization. The most critical factors for success in change initiatives is the extent to which leadership is willing to commit fully, from the beginning, to honest, open, truthful, reciprocal, and empathetic conversations with stakeholders (Hubbart, 2022).  

Common Obstacles/Objections:
1. Fear of the Unknown: Stakeholders might resist change because they are uncertain about the outcomes.
2. Perceived Negative Impact on Job Roles: Concerns about job security, changes in job roles, or potential job losses can lead to resistance.
3. Loss of Power or Control: Some stakeholders might feel that the change will diminish their influence or control within the organization.
4. Doubts about the Competence of Leadership: Stakeholders might question the ability of leaders to effectively manage the change.
5. Cultural and Behavioral Resistance: Organizational culture and individual behaviors can be significant barriers to change. 

Strategies to Address Objections:
1. Effective Communication: Leaders should communicate the reasons for the change, its benefits, and how it will be implemented. This can alleviate fears and uncertainties.
2. Stakeholder Engagement: Involving stakeholders in the change process can foster a sense of ownership and reduce resistance.
3. Training and Support: Providing training and resources can help stakeholders adapt to the new changes.
4. Address Concerns Directly: Leaders should be open to feedback and address stakeholders’ concerns directly.
5. Build Trust: Establishing trust through transparency and consistent actions can make stakeholders more receptive to change. 

Leaders must make communication a priority, setting and reinforcing those frameworks for behavior, goals, and timelines. These clear expectations and feedback also help to engage the team and get everyone moving together in the right direction. 

References:
Hubbart. J.A. (2022). Organizational Change: Considering Truth and Buy-In. Administrative Sciences, 13(3), 3. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.3390/admsci13010003