Good healthcare managers are visionaries who turn the planned into a reality
Just like happy families from the famous Tolstoy definition, well managed medical facilities are alike. In them, organisation of each process is optimised to perfection. The medical staff is calm and enjoys management's support and opportunities to grow professionally. The ambiance is pleasant. The healthcare and its results are the best possible, irregardless of whether a state, a municipality or a privately-owned medical facility is concerned.
Creating such an institution is a hard task. The professionals in Bulgaria faced it after the healthcare reforms of 1999 that completely overhauled this country's sector with setting new goals and means for their achievement. The new strategy for the healthcare development included targets such as increased effectiveness of the healthcare system and regulation and expansion of access to healthcare services. The reformed Bulgarian healthcare system was to provide higher quality and to overcome territorial imbalance in it, and to implement contemporary funding. Market mechanisms were introduced. Special attention was to be paid on introduction of new methods and technologies for treatment and on improved qualification of the medical staff. The main goal was to generally improve the health status of people in Bulgaria.
The reforming Bulgarian healthcare system faced a number of demographic, financial and organisational problems. Some of them are still not solved. Among them are insufficient administrative capacity, low effectiveness and lack of motivation.
In spite of this, however, the work of a number of private, state and municipality hospitals and clinics in Bulgaria is evidence that overcoming the problems and achieving the goals is possible. Irregardless of whether narrowly-specialised practices, specialised or multipurpose hospitals are concerned, good healthcare facilities in Bulgaria are a standard for quality and inspiration that positive change is possible.
The transformation to a significant extent is possible thanks to a certain type of professionals – the specialists in healthcare management. During this process, they built in the healthcare system their skills to recognise the key trends for future development, to organise people, resources and processes, to create teams, to achieve a balanced budget and to make profit, to identify in what new treatment technologies and professionals to invest, to take the best from Bulgaria's strong traditions in healthcare and to adapt it to modernity. As a result, good healthcare managers in this country lay the foundations of quality modern healthcare that won the patients' trust.
Some of these people have previous managerial experience in other fields. Others are medical specialists with administrative and managerial talent. What unites them is their talent of visionaries and the practicality of people who can materialise their goals.
More than 20 years after the reform started, the prestige of good healthcare managers remains high. Also on the rise is the awareness that besides talent the quality professional needs a solid theoretical and practical training in order to do their job properly and to fulfil their mission successfully. This is why a number of universities offer specialisation in healthcare management that prepares the new generation of innovative and competent specialists. The curriculum pays special attention to key competences such as skills for development and solving of managerial, organisational, social, and policy problems at all levels of the Bulgarian healthcare system.
Being a good healthcare manager asks for more than fluency in general managerial skills. In its essence, healthcare is a field loaded with particular responsibility. The health of the nation and the future of the country literally depend on it. The field is regulated by the state and the good manager should be able to navigate in the complex laws and regulations in order to provide trouble-free work for their team and safety for their patients.
This hard task has a financial dimension as well. Good health manager should achieve the optimal combination of quality of healthcare, adequate salaries for the medical staff and the profit of the hospital or clinic they manage.
Good healthcare managers are also aware that the quality of treatment in the facilities they administrate depends on science. Good healthcare is impossible without good science. This is why the manager should follow the latest world novelties and to be able to recognise real innovation from fashion that is not of particular use.
Only by working in all of these directions and with the awareness for the responsibility that comes with their position, can a good healthcare manager achieve the most important goal – providing the right care to the right people by the right professionals at the right time and at the right cost.
The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated painfully well how important good managers were for dealing with a crisis situation. Relying on science and their teams of professionals, following the philosophy to help all, the good managers reorganised the work process in the facilities they were responsible for. The new protocols provided safety to the staff and the patients, without sacrificing efficiency. The lack of materials and technologies was solved, and the lack of funding was compensated with establishing active relationships with big and small donors.
This is why we can say that good healthcare managers are the health managers whose presence is invisible to the patients, as work in the healthcare facility under their supervision runs smoothly and effectively.