In an increasingly complex healthcare delivery system the Healthcare Leadership Alliance is working to ensure that managers in healthcare facilities and other arenas of healthcare management practice have the skills needed to be effective in their professions. When standards for proficiencies are subjective, there is much latitude in how well managers function. In addition, in a volatile financial environment, managers must be able to demonstrate measurable outcomes; in other words, they must show that they are effective using accepted standards. The other requisite is the application of evidence-based principles of management. The alliance formed in an attempt to identify what common skills are needed and how they are attained.
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A Snapshot of the Alliance
Six organizations form the alliance, according to the Healthcare Leadership Alliance website. These are: The American College of Healthcare Executives; the American College of Physician Executives; the American Organization of Nurse Executives; the Healthcare Financial Management Association; the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society; and the Medical Group Management Association. These entities represent more than 140,000 professionals in healthcare management. Several of the member organizations offer their own certifications. They all hold conferences and offer resources such as trainings and job listings. The members of the alliance have identified several common competencies that are crucial to the industry.
Who Uses the Alliance resources?
The leadership alliance exists as an advocate for reform in the healthcare industry. That reform must be at several levels. Healthcare managers use the alliance resources to perform self-evaluations of their management skills. There has to be breadth and depth in the knowledge base that lies at the foundation of their skills. Accessing the alliance directory of competencies, they can assess which skills need updating and honing. Healthcare organizations use the directory to evaluate their management teams in over 300 areas of proficiencies. This assessment allows the organizations to assess how well their managers complement one another in skill sets. Educators use the directory as well when they design curriculum for university healthcare management programs.
The Alliance Model
The areas stressed in the competencies are: common competencies for all healthcare managers; knowledge of the current healthcare environment; business knowledge and skills; leadership; communication and relationship management and professionalism. The consortium of alliance members developed a model that is used by many healthcare organizations for effective management training. According to the National Council for Healthcare Leadership, the model features three divisions. Transformation is the first area, and addresses individual development. It covers things like analytical thinking; orienting oneself to achievement; orienting to community; financial skills and innovative thinking, among other proficiencies. The second area of the model is Execution. This includes topics like accountability and change in leadership as well as project management skills and collaboration. The third area is People. This is how the managers address the human resources of the healthcare corporation. It includes skills in HR as well as self-confidence. Professionalism or the ability to integrate skills with ethical standards of responsibility is another concept in this last division as is interpersonal relationship management.
Having a set of standards by which to evaluate management programs and professionals ensures the advancement of the healthcare management system. It also provides better working environments for professionals and service delivery for patients. This advancement is the goal of the Healthcare Leadership Alliance.