Healthcare Process Improvement: The Role of the Process Manager

Process management is a term that is used frequently in the business industry. Other industries use it too like Healthcare Process Improvement which focus on managing processes and strategic goals in a healthcare organization. Thought the primary goal of a healthcare organization is to provide care to patients, they still need to have a business department that carries out process management so as to keep the healthcare organization fully functioning and self-sustaining. In order for there to be process improvement, there has to be effective process management

Healthcare Process Improvement Through Process Management

Process management can be referred to as the alignment of an organization’s strategic goals, the designing and implementing of its process architecture and the education and of its team members to manage the process effectively and efficiently. In this case, the management emphasizes the ability of workflow engines to control process flows, automatically measure processes, and educating and organizing managers so that they will manage processes effectively.

What Process Management Entails

Process management is a broad term that contains a variety of concepts and nuances. In order to carry out process management, there are steps that need to be taken. The general rule is that there are five process management steps, these steps are

  • Designing: Design the business process as it should ideally exist and analyze the process as it currently exists and what is needed to improve it
  • Modeling: Model, or consider, how the business process operates in different scenarios
  • Executing: Implement, or execute, improvement solutions, including standardization and process automation
  • Monitoring: Monitor improvements
  • Optimization: Continue to optimize the business process

The Process Manager

The process manager is the individual that is responsible for the planning, implementing and data-to-day overall management of the process in an organization. The process manager ensures that every step of the process goes according to plan and coordinates other team members to ensure that there is synergy in the process improvement management team. The process managers work to ensure that business process outcomes are in harmony with an organization’s strategic goals. In general, a business process manager evaluates, designs, executes, measures, monitors, and controls business processes. They work collaboratively across all departments of the organization to help improve the management of a business process. They also tend to focus on the entire process from beginning to end, introducing innovation into the process that can impact results, enhance profitability and assist the organization to meet its business objectives and goals.

Process Manager Responsibilities

Below are the process manager responsibilities summarized into a list –

  • Coordinates day-to-day execution of the process
  • Identifying and implementing changes to the process
  • Identifying exceptions and deviations, as well as management of these situations
  • Communicating new and changed policies
  • Ensuring the standards and procedures are being followed
  • Facilitating resource commitment and allocation
  • Identifying and implementing process improvement
  • Creating, analyzing and distributing process reports
  • Act as focal point for the process, communicate with clients, service providers, and management
  • Facilitate resolution of issues with items not complying with the process
  • Following a defined escalation path when needed, as defined in the escalation policy
  • Notifying the participants in the process when standards and procedures are not being followed
  • Performing day to day process administration
  • Ensure completeness and integrity of information collected to conduct daily operations
  • Establishment of measurements and targets to improve process effectiveness and efficiency
  • Responsible for evaluating the performance of the process
  • Assists auditing of the process for compliance with documented procedures
  • Defines those parts of the Process Framework not defined by the Process Owner

Attributes of a Successful Business Process Manager

Being a successful process manager is not a days work. It requires a level of skill and experience and it also requires the individual to possess certain attributes.

  • Ability to see the big picture: process management involves planning and creating something for an ultimate goal. In order to do this, process managers need to have a vision for the big picture. They should be able to visualize how all the small parts work together to achieve the end goal. They understand that enhancing process effectiveness may not be a one-time endeavor and that meaningful change typically requires continuous improvement. This holistic approach to process innovation also may require process managers who understand that changing one step in the process can impact other process activities.

 

  • Ability to Create a Business Process: This goes without saying, but a process manager should be able to very easily and efficiently, create a business process. They should also be able to discern between a business process and a series of steps captured on a flow chart. Because many organizations don’t have business processes in place to achieve their goals, the first responsibility of a business process manager might be to analyze the steps in question to determine if they consist of a simple series of activities or an actual business process.

“Redesigning business processes typically involves more than just rearranging the steps on a flow chart. It can require the ability to change the hearts and minds of employees affected by the change. Evaluating, designing and controlling business processes alone would likely be incomplete if the employees who are impacted by it oppose and resist the change. Process managers engage employees to inspire and empower them to provide input into process change. They encourage employees to embrace the new process once it is implemented.” Villanova University

  • Tenacity: When you are the manager and you can see the big picture that others cannot, it takes tenacity and perseverance to be able to communicate that vision and has other people buy into it. Consistently pursuing continued process innovation may require someone with exceptional determination, self-motivation, and interpersonal skills. Promoting a new process innovation to achieve the cultural shift required to help the organization embrace a new innovation typically takes an individual with plenty of resolves.