Enablers for Allied Health Front-line Managers in Public Health Environments to Deliver Sustainable Patient Care
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Background: Many allied health managers do not feel equipped to face the challenges of evolving business environments such as public hospitals The increasing demand on public hospitals due to chronicity of disease, an aging population and rising health costs will require managers to be resourceful, adaptable, influential and innovative The research on this topic is scarce with a lack of robust studies specific to allied health front-line managers working in public healthcare settings.
Objectives: The review of the literature aims to identify enablers for front-line allied health managers to be more effective and better prepared for working in complex and challenging healthcare environments such as public hospitals.
Method: Literature searches were performed using Scopus, PubMed, PsychINFO, CINAHL, ProQuest and Google Scholar databases for articles published between January 2000 and November 2019. Hand searching of reference lists of included papers also occurred. The included articles were studies containing cohorts of allied health professionals working in any healthcare setting that directly related to the study of management and/or leadership.
Results: The literature findings on this topic were scarce, however review of the 22 studies that met the criteria identified nine potential enablers for allied health front-line managers. These included incorporating effective leadership styles, leadership attributes and characteristics for working in health, allied health structure, representation of allied health in contexts of influence, associations/network and organisational support, evidence-based and tailored allied health programs, measurable and robust feedback on performance and succession planning for the future.
Conclusion: By identifying potential enablers, key strategies, resources and supports could be developed for allied health front-line managers working in complex settings such as public hospitals, which ultimately lead to improvements in patient safety, quality and experience.
Implications for Practice: More research with front-line allied health managers in practice is required to explore and validate the identified enablers. Once validated, further studies to determine the strategies, resources, influences and supports that could be developed to support enacting them would be important. Providing the necessary enablers to allied health front-line managers would equip them to manage the increasing challenges facing public healthcare organisations that are required to be more sustainable while delivering quality care to patients.
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