Background Many healthcare systems have been unable to deal with Covid-19 without influencing non-Covid-19 patients with pre-existing conditions, risking a paralysis in the medium term. This study explores the effects of organizational flexibility on hospital efficiency in terms of the capacity to deliver healthcare services for both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients. Method Focusing on Italian health system, a two-step strategy is adopted. First, Data Envelope Analysis is used to assess the capacity of hospitals to address the needs of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients relying on internal resource flexibility. Second, two panel regressions are performed to assess external organizational flexibility, with the involvement in demand management of external operators in the health-care service, examining the impact on efficiency in hospital capacity management. Results The overall response of the hospitals in the study was not fully effective in balancing the needs of the two categories of patients (the efficiency score is 0.87 and 0.58, respectively, for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients), though responses improved over time. Furthermore, among the measures providing complementary services in the community, home hospitalization and territorial medicine were found to be positively associated with hospital efficiency (0.1290, p < 0.05 and 0.2985, p < 0.01, respectively, for non-Covid-19 and Covid-19 patients; 0.0026, p < 0.05 and 0.0069, p < 0.01, respectively, for non-Covid-19 and Covid-19). In contrast, hospital networks are negatively related to efficiency in Covid-19 patients (-0.1037, p < 0.05), while the relationship is not significant in non-Covid-19 patients. Conclusions Managing the needs of Covid-19 patients while also caring for other patients requires a response from the entire healthcare system. Our findings could have two important implications for effectively managing health-care demand during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. First, as a result of a naturally progressive learning process, the resource balance between Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients improves over time. Second, it appears that demand management to control the flow of patients necessitates targeted interventions that combine agile structures with decentralization. Finally, untested integration models risk slowing down the response, giving rise to significant costs without producing effective results.

The other side of the crisis: organizational flexibility in balancing Covid‑19 and non‑Covid‑19 health‑care services

Roberta Troisi
;
2022

Abstract

Background Many healthcare systems have been unable to deal with Covid-19 without influencing non-Covid-19 patients with pre-existing conditions, risking a paralysis in the medium term. This study explores the effects of organizational flexibility on hospital efficiency in terms of the capacity to deliver healthcare services for both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients. Method Focusing on Italian health system, a two-step strategy is adopted. First, Data Envelope Analysis is used to assess the capacity of hospitals to address the needs of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients relying on internal resource flexibility. Second, two panel regressions are performed to assess external organizational flexibility, with the involvement in demand management of external operators in the health-care service, examining the impact on efficiency in hospital capacity management. Results The overall response of the hospitals in the study was not fully effective in balancing the needs of the two categories of patients (the efficiency score is 0.87 and 0.58, respectively, for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients), though responses improved over time. Furthermore, among the measures providing complementary services in the community, home hospitalization and territorial medicine were found to be positively associated with hospital efficiency (0.1290, p < 0.05 and 0.2985, p < 0.01, respectively, for non-Covid-19 and Covid-19 patients; 0.0026, p < 0.05 and 0.0069, p < 0.01, respectively, for non-Covid-19 and Covid-19). In contrast, hospital networks are negatively related to efficiency in Covid-19 patients (-0.1037, p < 0.05), while the relationship is not significant in non-Covid-19 patients. Conclusions Managing the needs of Covid-19 patients while also caring for other patients requires a response from the entire healthcare system. Our findings could have two important implications for effectively managing health-care demand during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. First, as a result of a naturally progressive learning process, the resource balance between Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients improves over time. Second, it appears that demand management to control the flow of patients necessitates targeted interventions that combine agile structures with decentralization. Finally, untested integration models risk slowing down the response, giving rise to significant costs without producing effective results.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4802432
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