To: The Hygieia Health Minister
Date:5th March 2019
Subject:Briefing report on the role of public health and change and leadership in Hygieia’s health sector
The Hygieia Health System is facing issues that are prevalent in the health systems globally. Forthwith, the Health Minister is looking for advice on what the system needs to improve healthcare in the state. Prevention and care are core functions that the integrated and modern healthcare service is supposed to achieve. Equally, there is the management issue, which is imperative in fostering change. With the aid of leadership and management, public health is anticipated to transform its operations. The Health Minister is keen on understanding the role of public health in the overall healthcare system, and the lessons leadership and organizational theories have for the public health sector.
Role of Public Health in the Wider Health System
The public health in Hygieia has an impact on the overall health sector. The public health assesses the health issues of the community (“Why is public health so important?” 2018). With knowledge of these needs, the sector devices strategies that would prevent the occurrence of a health epidemic. The public health collects, assembles, and avails details on the health status of the community.By working with other groups like environmental health, statistics on health status, epidemiologic studies, and studies on health groups, the sector gives timely information useful in stopping any health hazard from occurring. Undoubtedly, Hygieia’s public health sector depends on research into health issues, patients, education institutions, and even community organizations to receive this critical information. Hygeia’s public health examines the health needs of the population and formulates the necessary solutions.
The public health system also informs the public about health issues. The public health has an integral role in informing and empowering the community about health issues (“The Public Health system” 2018). By enlightening the public about health matters, people can take precautionary measures before the health epidemic breaks out. Moreover, the citizens are aware of how to get assistance should a health problem occur. Public education is done through healthcare providers, learning institutions, public safety agencies, and environmental agencies.The public health educates on health issues and empowers them.
The public health also aids in shaping policies. Public health aids in creating policies that promote individual and community healthcare (“The Public Health system” 2018). The ministry of health depends on healthcare providers, researchers, and health agencies in shaping policies that would improve the overall health of Hygieia’s patients. Data from patients and payers are also critical in determining the cost and quality of healthcare services the public needs before making policies. Comparatively, the ministry of health relies on the public health sector to implement health laws and regulations. The healthcare providers and payers adhere to the health standards that the ministry has spelled out to safeguard the interests of the patients. By abiding by policies it aids in formulating, the public health sector guarantees quality healthcare for its population.
The public health sector connects people to appropriate healthcare providers. Through this sector, the public has assured the provision of healthcare, which would have otherwise been unavailable, when they need it (“The Public Health system” 2018). Patients know where to get healthcare services, their eligibility to receive care, and who the service payers are.As the consumer demands for healthcare rise in Hygieia, the public health sector is imperative in ensuring that people know where and how to access healthcare services. Public health is useful in connecting people to the right health services.
Public healthcare ensures there is competence in the health sector. Through public healthcare, the health sector has a competent healthcare workforce (“The Public Health system” 2018). Through training, research into health problems, the taskforce acquires valuable information that aids in delivering quality healthcare. The ministry of health, using expert knowledge, determines the qualifications of healthcare providers and works with other agencies to ensure that premium healthcare services are given to the public. Public health is vital in promoting competence in health delivery.
Lessons from Change and Leadership Theories
Leadership and change theories and experiences are vital in promoting change in Hygieia’s public health sector. Notably, the drivers for change like the aging population, rising costs, increasing consumer demand, and technological advances demand a modern healthcare system. Since the change aims to improve the existing quality of services in the sector, developmental change is suitable. Developmental change entails enhancing business processes, performance management and information systems (“Change and change management” 2014). The Hygieia system will benefit from this change as it leads to continuous improvement of processes. Additionally, the employees will develop their skills, which is imperative in exploiting technological advances and meeting the rising demands of the population. Innovation is also a product of developmental change, which is essential in availing timely and affordable healthcare. Hygieia should implement developmental change to improve its health services.
Change is inevitable and should be guided by trusted processes. Firstly, Hygieia’s health ministry should identify its mission, which is to promote a modern healthcare system that would avail high-quality and affordable care to Hygieians. Secondly, the Minister should identify the core values, which may have to be adjusted to fit with the new developments. Next is the change process. For the process, Kotter’s eight-step model is appropriate.
The eight-step process will guarantee success. The first step is creating urgency (“Change and change management” 2014). The need to change should be done after completing a SWOT analysis. The next step is building coalitions, where change leaders are identified. The third step is creating a vision, which will guide the change process. The fourth step is communicating the vision, which is followed by empowering others to work on the vision. The sixth step is creating quick wins, which will motivate people to work towards achieving the change vision. The seventh and eight steps are building on and institutionalizing the change. The eight steps were particularly helpful to me at one point when I managed a clinic. The clinic wanted to improve its in-patient care system, and the process proved instrumental as it not only got all the members on board, but it fostered unity among stakeholders, and we accomplished the task earlier than anticipated. Kotter’s model will equally work for Hygeia.
The minister should anticipate resistance and minimize it, and sustain a commitment to the change. Not every stakeholder may agree with the proposed changes as they could mean changes in culture, organization, people, and their tasks (“Change and change management” 2014). While managing the change in the clinic, some physicians and nurses feared that their schedules and roles were at risk. Consequently, I assured them that their jobs were safe and even welcomed their opinions on how to reschedule their activities. In ensuring commitment, we came up with frameworks and rules to foster adherence. The progress was also continuously monitored. Resistance should be minimized as much as possible, and the changes closely monitored.
Leadership is vital in fostering the change. Several leadership theories would apply to the change process. Transformational leadership is one such theory (“Leadership” 2014). A transformational leader is one who spearheads change and empowers the followers to accomplish the change goals. I enjoyed the leadership of my former boss at a health facility. She not only encouraged us to give our best at work, but she led by example. In case of any changes, she did not just delegate duties, but she was hands-on in the change process. Suffice to state, everyone under her leadership enjoyed working with her. Transformational leadership is suitable for the health sector.
The Hersey and Blanchard Approach is equally effective. The approach focuses on the followers and gauges their levels of readiness. It also combines different leadership styles like telling, selling, participating, and delegating. Since there is a leadership style for every stage, the theory will aid in the change process as the ministry can be directive in the early stages, increase participation from players like healthcare providers at the selling stage, improve participation of the stakeholders by availing information in the participation stage, and finally delegate the implementation responsibilities to all stakeholders. The Hersey and Blanchard approach comprehensively covers all the leadership skills for all change processes.
A leader should have several qualities that are vital for change and growth. A leader should have experience at the community level (“Practitioner Perspectives – Bill Graham”). Consequently, they will design appropriate programs. I once spearheaded a policy change for the community in which I worked. Unfortunately, I lost the case because I was unable to identify the specific health needs of the community since I had not worked closely with them. Further, a leader should understand their role in enforcing change in the organization. Knowing one’s role aids in flexibility when dealing with other leaders and subordinates. As a leader, I regularly review my conduct and ask my colleagues and juniors to gauge my leadership skills. I have found that being flexible is useful when facing uncertainties. With leadership qualities, the ministry of health will effectively change the sector.
The Hygeia public health system has an integral role in promoting health in the community, and its change should be managed effectively. The systems approach reveals the roles that stakeholders in public health impact the entire system. Concerning change, the theories on change, leadership, and leadership qualities are useful in giving Hygieia the modern healthcare system it urgently needs. Hopefully, the personal experiences offered will promote the practicality of the suggestions. The Hygieia public health system can change for the better.
Birmingham City: School of Health Sciences, 2018.Why is Public Health so important?. [Online]. Available at: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/health-sciences/about-us/school-blog/why-is-public-health-important [Accessed 5th March 2019].
CDC, 2018. The Public Health System & the 10 Essential Public Health Services. [Online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/publichealthservices/essentialhealthservices.html [Accessed 5th March 2019].
Laureate Education, 2014. Practitioner Perspectives – Paula Grey.
University of Liverpool, 2014. Leading and Managing Health Systems: Change and Change Management.
University of Liverpool, 2014. Leading and Managing Health Systems: Leadership.