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J Rural Health. 1991 Fall;7(5):511-25.

The WAMI Rural Hospital Project. Part 3: Building health care leadership in rural communities.

Abstract

The WAMI Rural Hospital Project (RHP) intervention combined aspects of community development, strategic planning and organizational development to address the leadership issues in six Northwest rural hospitals. Hospitals and physicians, other community health care providers and local townspeople were involved in this intervention, which was accomplished in three phases. In the first phase, extensive information about organizational effectiveness was collected at each site. Phase two consisted of 30 hours of education for the physician, board, and hospital administrator community representatives covering management, hospital board governance, and scope of service planning. In the third phase, each community worked with a facilitator to complete a strategic plan and to resolve conflicts addressed in the management analyses. The results of the evaluation demonstrated that the greatest change noted among RHP hospitals was improvement in the effectiveness of their governing boards. All boards adopted some or all of the project's model governance plan and had successfully completed considerable portions of their strategic plans by 1989. Teamwork among the management triad (hospital, board, and medical staff) was also substantially improved. Other improvements included the development of marketing plans for the three hospitals that did not initially have them and more effective use of outside consultants. The project had less impact on improving the functioning of the medical chief of staff, although this was not a primary target of the intervention. There was also relatively less community interest in joining regional health care associations. The authors conclude that an intervention program tailored to address specific community needs and clearly identified leadership deficiencies can have a positive effect on rural health care systems.

PMID:
10117235
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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