Planning and Control and the Use of Information Technology in Mental Healthcare Organizations

Planning and Control and the Use of Information Technology in Mental Healthcare Organizations

I.J. Baars (Maastricht University, The Netherlands) and G.G. Van Merode (Board of Maastricht University Medical Center and Maastricht University, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-687-7.ch021
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Demand for mental healthcare increases. Simultaneously, the need for more patient oriented processes increases and the market develops towards more competition among providers and organizations. As a result of these developments, mental healthcare organizations are becoming more aware of efficiency and effectiveness. Often, they choose to transform to more process oriented organizations, which require changes in planning and control systems and information technology (IT). However, little is known about the required planning and control systems and IT for mental healthcare.
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Mental healthcare is often multidisciplinary and includes several professionals, disciplines, and departments within one or more organizations which all need to be planned and controlled. Consequently, the object of control is mainly professionals and patients, but also resources like rooms. We define planning as the determination of what should be done and control as the process that assures that the planned results are obtained (Van Merode, Groothuis, & Hasman, 2004).

According to Hofstede (1981), the way nonprofit organizations, such as mental healthcare organizations, can be planned and controlled depends on the type of processes. The type of process can be determined by answering the following questions: is the output measurable? Are the objectives unambiguous? Are the effects of management interventions known? And, can the activities be repeated? The type of processes determines the control model and instruments (e.g., protocols, case management and budgeting) that can be applied.

Hofstede (1981) defines six different control models, as shown in Table 1. The more standardized, well-defined, and structured the processes are, the more routine control can be used.

Table 1.
Control models
Control model conditionUnambiguous
Measurable outputKnown effectsRepetitive activities
Routine control++++
Expert control+++-
Trial and error control++-+
Intuitive control++--
Judgmental control+-+/-+/-
Political control-+/-+/-+/-

+ = condition is present

- = condition is not present

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