Managing the Myths of Health Care

Bridging the Separations between Care, Cure, Control, and Community

Henry Mintzberg (Author)

Publication date: 05/15/2017

Managing the Myths of Health Care
Management giant Henry Mintzberg turns his attention to health care, arguing that many of the massive issues facing health care stem from the fact that it is not a cohesive system. To heal itself, health care must become less distant and opaque and more engaging and collaborative.“Health care is not failing but succeeding, expensively, and we don't want to pay for it. So the administrations, public and private alike, intervene to cut costs, and herein lies the failure.”

In this sure-to-be-controversial book, leading management thinker Henry Mintzberg turns his attention to reframing the management and organization of health care.

The problem is not management per se but a form of remote-control management detached from the operations yet determined to control them. It reorganizes relentlessly, measures like mad, promotes a heroic form of leadership, favors competition where the need is for cooperation, and pretends that the calling of health care should be managed like a business.

“Management in health care should be about dedicated
and continuous care more than interventionist and episodic cures.”

This
professional form of organizing is the source of health care's great strength as well as its debilitating weakness. In its administration, as in its operations, it categorizes whatever it can to apply standardized practices whose results can be measured. When the categories fit, this works wonderfully well. The physician diagnoses appendicitis and operates; some administrator ticks the appropriate box and pays. But what happens when the fit fails—when patients fall outside the categories or across several categories or need to be treated as people beneath the categories or when the managers and professionals pass each other like ships in the night?

To cope with all this, Mintzberg says that we need to reorganize our heads instead of our institutions. He discusses how we can think differently about systems and strategies, sectors and scale, measurement and management, leadership and organization, competition and collaboration.

“Market control of health care is crass, state control is crude, professional control is closed. We need all three—in their place.”

The overall message of Mintzberg's masterful analysis is that care, cure, control, and community have to work together, within health-care institutions and across them, to deliver quantity, quality, and equality simultaneously.

Read more and meet author below



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Overview

Management giant Henry Mintzberg turns his attention to health care, arguing that many of the massive issues facing health care stem from the fact that it is not a cohesive system. To heal itself, health care must become less distant and opaque and more engaging and collaborative.“Health care is not failing but succeeding, expensively, and we don't want to pay for it. So the administrations, public and private alike, intervene to cut costs, and herein lies the failure.”

In this sure-to-be-controversial book, leading management thinker Henry Mintzberg turns his attention to reframing the management and organization of health care.

The problem is not management per se but a form of remote-control management detached from the operations yet determined to control them. It reorganizes relentlessly, measures like mad, promotes a heroic form of leadership, favors competition where the need is for cooperation, and pretends that the calling of health care should be managed like a business.

“Management in health care should be about dedicated
and continuous care more than interventionist and episodic cures.”

This
professional form of organizing is the source of health care's great strength as well as its debilitating weakness. In its administration, as in its operations, it categorizes whatever it can to apply standardized practices whose results can be measured. When the categories fit, this works wonderfully well. The physician diagnoses appendicitis and operates; some administrator ticks the appropriate box and pays. But what happens when the fit fails—when patients fall outside the categories or across several categories or need to be treated as people beneath the categories or when the managers and professionals pass each other like ships in the night?

To cope with all this, Mintzberg says that we need to reorganize our heads instead of our institutions. He discusses how we can think differently about systems and strategies, sectors and scale, measurement and management, leadership and organization, competition and collaboration.

“Market control of health care is crass, state control is crude, professional control is closed. We need all three—in their place.”

The overall message of Mintzberg's masterful analysis is that care, cure, control, and community have to work together, within health-care institutions and across them, to deliver quantity, quality, and equality simultaneously.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Henry Mintzberg

After studying mechanical engineering at McGill University, Henry Mintzberg worked in Operational Research at the Canadian National Railways before receiving his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. He has been at the McGill University Faculty of Management ever since--in recent years as Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies--aside from visiting professorships at Carnegie Mellon University, Universite d'Aix-Marseille, Ecole des Hautes etudes commerciales of Montreal, London Business School, and Insead. He has also received fifteen honorary degrees from universities around the world.

Henry Mintzberg has received awards from prominent academic and practitioner associations, including the Academy of Management, the Strategic Management Society, and the Association of Management Consulting Firms. He was the first person from a management faculty named to the Royal Society of Canada, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada and l'Ordre national du Quebec.

He has been devoting much of his time in recent years to the development of a family of programs in which managers learn by reflecting in small groups on their own experience. These including the International Masters in Practicing Management (www.impm.org), and the International Masters for Health Leadership (www.imhl.info), and the Advanced Leadership Program (www.impm-alp.com). This led to the establishment of www.CoachingOurselves.com, which enables groups of managers to learn in this way and drive change in their own workplace.

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