Quality Management in Health Care or for Health Care - or Both?
Paper i proceeding, 2004
Quality management is well established in the industrial manufacturing sector. More recently, interest has started to grow in the service sector and notably in the area health care. Several health care organisations have started to use quality management in order to improve their operations. The experiences vary but several examples of successful practice exist.
In a separate development, some researchers have very recently begun to study the effects that quality management has on the health of the employees in all kinds of organisations. It is reasonable to conceive that quality management could have beneficial effects on employee health by bringing in more humane and effective practices and thus improving the working conditions. Some studies indicate that this is the case but the amount of research into this field is still very limited.
Bringing these two strands together raises interesting questions regarding the greater role of quality management in society. The societal value of quality management has been proposed by some of the leading authors in the area (e.g. Ishikawa and Deming) but is scarcely conceptualised in research.
The empirical basis of the paper consists of three case studies. In the first study the general effects of quality management in a maternity clinic was studies. In the second study the effects of quality management practices on the health of the employees in a manufacturing company was examined. The third study brought the perspectives together in that the effects of quality management on the health of the employees in the casualty department of a major hospital were investigated.