Re-engineering the hospital: A house without rooms

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9 Scopus citations


Re-engineering of health care systems is defined, and the experience with re-engineering at a medical center is discussed. Re-engineering is a business concept that involves totally redesigning work processes to achieve much higher efficiencies and quality; it should not be confused with cost cutting, downsizing, and continuous improvement. Reengineering seeks to combine multiple jobs into one, empower workers and make them more accountable, sequence the elements of work more naturally, create greater flexibility, and blur or remove organizational boundaries. Re-engineering at The Ohio State University Medical Center began with the formation of an operations improvement team consisting of department heads. Work processes were selected for reengineering and prioritized, and teams were created to identify activities calling for radical change, such as activities that wasted time, could be done on an outpatient basis, or were duplicative. It was concluded that the redesign had to focus on the entire medical center, not the individual departments. A list of the characteristics of a better organization was prepared and distributed to the staff, along with other documents to help them understand the need for change. The operations improvement team specified expected outcomes of the re-engineering, and each re-engineering team developed measures of these outcomes. Many of the recommendations submitted have been implemented. One innovation has been the consolidation of the duties of utilization-review nurses, continuity-of-care nurses, social workers, and patient-education nurses into a single job category. When the medication-use re-engineering team meets, it will not be re-engineering the pharmacy department, it will be addressing the drug-use process. A medical center is reengineering itself so that it will be able to continue to meet the health care needs of the community it serves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2671-2675
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1995


  • Administration
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmacy, institutional, hospital
  • Quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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