System & Structure Analysis
Please answer all 12 questions thoroughly. There’s an example (italized) given at the top of every section, use it as a guide to answer the question followed after. For question #1 requires 250 or more word count, all others requires at least 150 or more. A cover sheet is not required, but use in-text citations and a reference page. Place your answers underneath each question for an easier breakdown. Attached is the course material, please use it as a reference.
Introduction & Background
St. Jude`s Children`s Research Hospital is a non-profit healthcare provider founded in 1962 by actor Danny Thomas. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude`s has affiliate hospitals in Illinois, Louisiana (2), Alabama, and an additional affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee. St. Jude`s focuses on what are called ~catastrophic~ childhood diseases, especially cancer. St. Jude`s provides healthcare to over 4,900 children each year regardless of their ability to pay making it unusual in the healthcare industry where the cost of treatment typically outpaces inflation. For families with insurance, St. Jude`s accepts whatever payment is made by the insurance provider as payment in full. Children who have no insurance are treated without cost. In addition to providing care to children from many countries, St. Jude`s is a world leader in research in pediatric catastrophic diseases. All children treated at St. Jude`s are enrolled in one of the hospital`s research studies. St. Jude`s also offers assistance to patients whose physicians are unable to diagnose their illness. In 1996, a St. Jude`s researcher, Dr. Peter Doherty, received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his groundbreaking work in immunology. St. Jude`s is supported by charitable contributions, federal grants, insurance payments, and its own endowment.
1. In the box provided, write an overview of the organization including the types of services and/or goods produced and the industry in which it operates. Give a brief history of the organization, where it is located, when the organization was founded and major events in its history. Remember that any information you retrieve from an outside source, whether paper or electronic, must be cited in APA format. (For this question only requires 250 or more word count).
Recent Trends in the Industry
The two most significant trends in the healthcare industry are increasing costs and a shortage of healthcare workers. Since St. Jude`s accepts payment in full based on fees determined by insurance companies, who have an incentive to contain costs, efforts to reduce healthcare costs mean a reduction in the payments St. Jude`s receives for services. St. Jude`s is a charitable organization and supplements these payments with fundraising efforts and management of its endowment. St. Jude`s is also a consumer of healthcare products used in the treatment of patients. As such, when healthcare costs increase, St. Jude`s costs increase as well. The shortage of healthcare workers means that St. Jude`s must recruit aggressively in the labor market to hire the best caregivers and researchers.
2. Here, discuss the industry in which the organization operates. Include significant recent trends in the industry or environmental factors that have affected your organization (such as higher fuel prices for a trucking firm). Potential factors include government regulation, new competitors, substitute products or new technologies.
St. Jude`s has a Board of Directors who appoint the Chief Executive Officer who is W. Evans. Three executive vice presidents report to Evans: EVP Chief Medical Officer (J. Mirro), EVP Scientific Director (J. Downing), EVP Chief Operating Officer (J. Nash). There is also an Administrative Director who reports to the CEO. Each administrative department has a director who reports to the Administrative Director. Each department director has between three and 15 supervisors who directly manage the hourly or professional workforce (~Organizational Chart,~ 2007, art.10.005). In the Purchasing Department, the director is John Smith, who has three supervisors, one for each of the major areas (Medical Supplies, Food and Hospitality Services, and Janitorial/Maintenance). There are two clerks assigned to each area who directly process purchase orders and coordinate bids, if necessary.
3. Provide a narrative of the departmental structure based on the structure analysis you completed earlier in the course. Discuss the interconnectedness of the department with other departments in the organization. Remember to cite the sources of any charts you acquired from other sources.
System of Operations
Mission – The mission of St. Jude Children`s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our Founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family`s ability to pay.~ (http://www.stjude.org/media/0,2561,453_2139,00.html, retrieved September 9, 2007) St. Jude`s mission requires that it engage in cutting edge research activities that involve both basic scientific research as well as applied research that specifically focuses on developing and implementing treatment plans. Danny Thomas`s vision for the institution was that no child would ever be turned away because of the ability of his or her parents to pay for treatment, or because of race, nationality, sex, or religion.
Goals and Objectives – The three major goals of St. Jude`s are to lead the way in pediatric cancer prevention and control, increase cure rates in the US from 70 percent to 90 percent for the major forms of cancer, and unfaltering commitment to excellence across every aspect of our enterprise (~Strategic Plan Unveiled,~ 2006). To support the goals, one objective is to complete development of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program and the ACT Clinic. Other projects support attainment of these goals such as the human genome project, pharmacogenomics, biotechnology and informatics.
4. Mission Statement
Present and discuss the mission statement of the organization in a narrative. You should quote the mission statement and cite the source in APA format. This section should expand on the statement to include discussion of why the organization chose this as its mission and if the majority of employees know and believe in the organizational mission.
5. Goals & Objectives
Provide a narrative of the major goals of your organization as well as the specific objectives of your department. This should include discussion of how these goals and objectives help the organization achieve its mission and an overall assessment of the clarity and effectiveness of such goals and objectives.
Throughout the course, you have identified several opportunities for improvement in the areas of communication network, organizational structure, physical layout, work processes, organizational productivity, and employee performance. Below is a list of questions that will help guide you in identifying specific opportunities in each of those six areas. List each answer fully and completely. Please make sure to complete the read and attend sections before attempting to complete this form.
Areas for Improvement
Communications: One potential area for improvement in the area of communications is to focus on interdepartmental communications and the timeliness of communications between departments. Sometimes it can be weeks before a decision in one department is communicated to another. One possible solution would be to have monthly staff meetings where each department communicates decisions that affect other departments.
Structure/Physical Layout: Currently, several employees are under treatment for repetitive motion injuries. These injuries could be avoided if the current chairs at workstations were replaced with ergonomic chairs. This would reduce the number and severity of injuries.
Work Process Analysis: As the Accounts Payable Department, we are responsible for paying St. Jude`s bills in a timely manner. The current process requires that a department obtain a purchase order number from the Purchasing Department, place the order, and then forward the information to Purchasing. If the Purchasing Department were responsible for placing the orders, it would not be necessary for the department making the purchase to communicate twice with Purchasing.
Organizational Productivity: The software program that St. Jude`s uses to maintain its accounting system is out of date. The program was originally written by programmers at St. Jude`s in the early 1990s. Commercial packages are available that are more efficient and do not require programmers to maintain.
Incentive Program: Currently, there is no incentive program at St. Jude. There are programs in which employees are recognized such as `employee of the month or employee of the year,` but that is not an incentive program. Due to the limited population in the clinical research ladder, a workable incentive program is difficult to develop. An incentive program that provided financial incentives for progress toward organizational goals would improve productivity and morale.
Employee Performance: One of the most common reasons why employees leave St. Jude`s is because they experience high levels of stress due to the nature of the work. If St. Jude`s provided training in stress management, employees would be more productive and less likely to leave.
6. What is your assessment of the health of the communication network within your organization? List any opportunities identified during your assessment.
7. List any discovered opportunities to improve the structure or physical layout of your workplace.
8. List the top recommendations discovered while completing the Work Process Analysis form.
9. Here, list and briefly describe the top recommendation reached while completing the Organizational Productivity questionnaire.
10. List and briefly discuss any opportunities to improve the current incentive program.
11. What was the top recommendation to improve the performance of employees within your department?
Top 3 Improvement Opportunities
Communication between the Accounts Payable department and the Purchasing department is a critical issue. When a bill is received, if it does not match the purchase order, the vendor must be contacted and the bill researched. In some cases, the error is on the part of the vendor. But in about half of the cases, the error is our fault. In fact, it is not an error at all. Many times, after a purchase order is approved, the Purchasing department makes changes to the order that are not updated on the purchase order. The hospital`s policy permits these changes as long as they do not exceed 10% of the purchase order, but the purchase order is supposed to be updated. Also, there are cases where a bill is paid even through it does not match the purchase order. During the annual audit of the hospital`s financial records, auditors cite this as noncompliance. Solving this problem would reduce errors and save considerable time as well as ensure that the hospital`s bills are paid on time. Ergonomics represent another highly promising area for improvement. Currently, the workstations in the Accounts Payable department do not include relatively common improvements such as lowered keyboards, repositionable chairs, and better designed workstations. The third possible area for improvement is organizational productivity. St. Jude`s employs 2 computer programmers just to maintain the accounting software. If a commercial accounting program were purchased, these employees could be reassigned to maintain other programs. Since it is difficult to recruit qualified programmers, this would enable St. Jude`s to use its human resources more efficiently.
12. After completing the previous section, rank the top three opportunities based on their value to the organization, the feasibility in terms of implementation, and the consideration of your own role within the organization.