The Factors that Drive Change in Health and Social Care Services

Posted by Tony Wilson on December 12th, 2019

Social and health care services continuously undergo numerous types of change. Change refers to the course of transitioning from the current state to a desired future state. This change can include political, organisational, cultural, technological, demographic and legal aspects. Change in the social care and health care services seems constant because of several potential factors and stimuli drive transformation. The stimuli of this change may originate from inside or outside an organisation. The key factors that drive change in the healthcare and social care services include political and legal factors, cultural and demographic factors, and technological factors. Among the political and legal factors are modernisation agenda, funding issues, government legislations as well as policies. For example, various aspects of social and health care refer to the law. New legal prerequisites consistently emerge as the government seeks to improve the social care and healthcare. These requirements often arise via the introduction of schemes to set standards in addition to controlling or modifying service provision.

Demographic factors including aging population, public awareness, and the needs of the minority ethnic communities make up the main external drivers of the future service needs in the system. Others include evidence-based practices and innovative services, which will improve the health services. Continuous technical innovation creates new demands concerning the available resources. Information technology factors, such as electronic record keeping, assistive technology, and electronic communication also bring about improved discharge planning. Additionally, lifestyle factors, such as smoking, poor diet, excessive alcohol drinking and inadequate physical activities are the main risk factors for many diseases like diabetes and cancer.

The pressures of change in the social and health care services cause many challenges to the system. The proportion of the aged people has grown significantly. By 2031, the aging population that is people over 65 years will equal to approximately 23% of the total US population. Regardless of the increase in the healthy life expectancy, trends suggest that citizens live a larger proportion of lives with ill health. Consequently, the increasing aging population could become a considerable challenge for the social and health care system due to the higher likelihoods of long-term conditions among the aged. The problem also affects other areas associated with the elderly, such as planning to satisfy the needs of the elderly population given the aging workforce. Similarly, preparing for the changes arising from innovation and the new technology and managing the changing expectations of the public represent challenges to many organisations.

Another challenge is how to realise better integration between social care, health, and the support groups. The environment under which the social and health care organisations operate begins to change. In general, this change makes it harder for the individual institutions and for the whole system to make far-reaching plans. Shifting the focus towards well-being and prevention will become a core challenge to a system whose primary focus is treating the ill instead of helping the public to stay healthy. Ensuring that the system delivers premium services in the future within the financial constraints, and an understanding of the personnel’s role in realising this are among other challenges. Similarly, there is a need to develop effective measures for the quality of care plus productivity, and ensure high-quality data collection.

Recent Changes in Health and Social Care Services

Recent changes in the social and health care can be detected with the use of health status measures. Measuring the dimensions of the quality of the social and health care is a practical way to estimate and interpret changes in the social and health status. These aspects include equity, acceptability, accessibility, appropriateness, effectiveness, comprehensiveness, and efficiency of the system. These dimensions are measured in accordance with the relationship between the three components of care, technological, organisational and interpersonal, and the quality type mostly affected.

Financial constraints imply that the desire for performance improvement would continue. As a result, the call for innovation in the service delivery is very high, suggesting the need for the continued change in the professional and other spheres. Moreover, by its nature, it is hard to predict the shape that the innovation would take. It is hard to predict mainly whether the change would reinforce the role of the existing institutions or undermine it by making potential novel ways to deliver care in the health centres or home.

The pressure to improve performance has led to the establishment of unique ways to provide care that involve changes in the professional roles, organisational structures and management methods. In addition, the development of innovative ways of producing and storing knowledge has implications on the role of the service users. The coming out of Internet-based technologies has created opportunities for patients to complete online self-assessments, thereby, potentially lessening the need for professional staff to do the routine assessment work. This increasing public knowledge of the available services for various medical conditions has empowered people to demand the desired type of treatment delivered in the preferred way. The public increasingly expects to get access to the latest medical and technology advances.

Appropriate service responses to the changes include separation of the assessment plus care administration from the service provision in social care services. The separation will help to broaden the range of the staff groups capable of contributing specialist skills and knowledge to the clients’ care. Developing new working ways and adoption of the information technology will allow professionals to provide and seek advice without necessarily consulting face-face, which will help to deliver services to the informed public. Again, the social and health care system has to align the funding and effect-based incentive to endorse high-quality care plus innovation. The system should plan all of the future services with safety and quality at the heart, even with changes at the workforce to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centered care. Lastly, anticipation of what inventive changes might become in the future would become imperative. This anticipation would ensure adequate preparation of the workforce and the system to make use of the opportunity and improve service quality and productivity.

The Principles of Change Management

The key principles of managing change include the systematic approach to the public. Innovation without change on the systems and people is doomed to failure. Accordingly, it requires systematic approaches to the people issues, such as finding new leaders, developing new capabilities and skills, changing the usual work patterns, before and after the innovation is implemented. Another principle is a reduction of resistance to the change by having a clear, concise official case with vision certification to support the legitimacy of the change. Additionally, it needs to be ensured that people follow the right route for change. Third, there should be created ownership. Leaders of change should take ownership and become more active to make the change happen, lead the team and influence the need to change everybody.

Leavitt’s change model is among the critical accomplishment factors models used in the management of change as a component of reform implementation. The primary success factors include structure, technology, people and managerial tasks. Finally, Kotter’s eight steps change model to the successful change management helps managers to deal with the transformational change. The steps include creating a sense of urgency, building guiding coalition, forming strategic vision plus initiatives, enlisting volunteer army, enabling action via removing barriers, and generating short-term wins. These last two steps include sustaining acceleration, and eventually, instituting changes.

Planning of changes in social and health care involves a number of steps. First, planning and consultations stage involves developing and documenting the goals that will be achieved with the help of changes and the process the transformation. It also includes accessing and communicating the necessity for change, setting a clear change vision, documenting the case and identifying the structures or processes to stop, as well as beginning or continuing to operate. The next step is the development of the implementation plan including a proper communication plan. Then there should be made allocation of the roles as well as responsibilities in the process of change implementation. The next stage is devising the strategy or criterion to measure the effectiveness of the change, maintain, reinforce or consolidate the change.

The communication phase follows next, whereby the system recognises and appropriately addresses the people’s reactions to the change. Considerations of how to sustain the productivity and motivation of the workforce throughout the uncertainty period also take place jobs essay topics Moreover, changing the management style, and designing the appropriate change management approach, whether bottom-up or top-down, also takes place during the process of planning.

Monitoring of the changes in the social and health care systems occurs through measuring and monitoring the quality of the new services. The measuring of the quality of the interventions involves evaluative research surveys to assess the capacity and its effectiveness. Besides, following the standards of efficiency in terms of the cost-benefit, case completion, referral rates, waiting and the response take place. Monitoring the structural changes involves examining the condition of the staff and the facilities available following the transformational change.

In addition, customer and staff satisfaction evaluation measures the benefits of the ongoing change in the social and health care services. Monitoring the healthcare process involves assessing the reliability and validity of the new diagnostic tests, time taken between diagnostic and treatment and the frequency of patient follow-up. Recent changes are also monitored via assessing the outcomes of the services. This involves assessing the improvements in patient’s state, patient satisfaction, the incidence of recurrence and life expectancy improvements.

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Tony Wilson

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Tony Wilson
Joined: December 12th, 2019
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