Redesigning Trauma Operations at University Hospital Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

University Hospital CEO expressed worry about the financial viability of the hospital's injury care operations. On the one hand, trauma care was a significant part the hospital's community service mission and, as a teaching hospital, also part of its own educational assignment. On the other hand, trauma care had been a money-losing proposition for many years, and additionally had caused disruptions to the other care-delivery services of the hospital. The CEO as well as the chief trauma surgeon (who served as the manager of trauma services of the hospital) collaborated to rethink processes and physical arrangements to create trauma care more efficient at a lower price.

A natural alternative, emanating out of concepts from process architecture and organization design, would be to reorganize resources and invent an area dedicated to trauma care. For all those familiar with operations management language, potential alternatives could be extracted from mobile production theories which have been efficiently moved into the service sector. The case discussion helps to illustrate that changes in physical arrangement cannot, by the CEO, ensure success. Pupils are challenged to contemplate complementary factors that may support the configuration change, together with the challenges the hospital might face in implementing and sustaining the work unit that was reconfigured.

PUBLICATION DATE: August 19, 2014 PRODUCT #: TB0369-HCB-ENG

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