Management practices in Australian healthcare: can NSW public hospitals do better?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Health, Organisation and Management, 2016, 30 (3), pp. 331 - 353
Issue Date:
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© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the determinants of best management practices in an Australian state-run healthcare system, namely New South Wales (NSW), and studies the impact of a range of hospital factors in driving best management practices as a means of enhancing healthcare delivery. Design/methodology/approach – This study adapts a unique survey instrument globally tested to quantify the multi-dimensional nature of hospital management practices in 42 acute care public hospitals of NSW. The authors then analysed the role of hospital-specific characteristics in driving best management practices, namely hospital size (measured by the number of hospital beds, employees and doctors), level of skill and education, degree of hospital manager autonomy and organisational hierarchy. Findings – The findings of this study show the areas of strength and potential areas of improvement in NSW hospitals. The authors find a positive association between the adoption of better management practices and hospital size (measured by the number of hospital beds and employees), level of skills and education, degree of hospital manager autonomy and organisational hierarchy. However, hospital size as measured by the number of doctors did not have a statistically significant relationship. Practical implications – This paper is of interest to both hospital administrators, clinical doctors and healthcare policy-makers who want to improve and develop strategies for better management in the healthcare sector. Originality/value – This study provides an internationally comparable robust measure of management capability in public hospitals, and contributes to the evidence-base of management practices and performance in hospitals.
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