Hospital CEO challenges and targets

By: Dinethra Menon – MedicalSearch Writer
30 January, 2015

Working as a Hospital CEO can be stressful and demanding. CEOs provide cultural leadership, maintain high standards in hospital operations and ensure a high quality of patient care.

Although Hospital CEOs face many challenges, there are some permanently pressing issues – and National Standards – that must always be considered.

Financial limitations

Financial challenges continue to be the most concerning issue for hospital CEOs. Doctors who work at hospitals may feel they work harder, faster, longer for not much more. However, budgets for hospitals are fixed and hospital CEOs who underperform can face job losses.

Hospital CEOs unfortunately may make difficult decisions such as funding cuts or reallocation of resources. Although it can impact on staff, keeping to budgets can benefit the hospital as a whole.

Patient safety and quality care

Patient-centred care is based upon patient safety and quality. A hospital's foundation rests on this principle, and the quality of care given by hospital staff.

The responsibility of patient care rests on the shoulders of the CEO of the hospital, who ensures hospital standards are met and maintained. This can include putting systems in place for patient engagement, access to staff and quality clinical standards for treatment. Hospital CEOs usually adhere to the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards to assist their operations.

Hospital efficiency

The Australian government recently mandated two models for process design and cultural change for hospital efficiency. The National Emergency Access Target (NEAT) aims for 90 per cent of all patients to leave the Emergency Department (ED) within 4 hours. Not supposed to overrule clinical judgement, its application by the state hospitals CEOs requires Executive engagement and leadership.

The National Elective Surgery Targets (NEST) is to reduce the number of patients waiting for elective surgery beyond clinically recommended times.

Employee satisfaction

Staffing shortages, crisis management, recruitment and executive management are all issues managed by hospital CEOs. Thoughtful leadership and quick systems-based responses may be required, usually under stressful conditions.

Employee satisfaction can affect patient-care in a hospital. Ensuring hospital staff from the top down are working cohesively and efficiently will maintain quality standards in the hospital.