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BMC Health Serv Res. 2006 Sep 20;6:120.

Managerial attitude to the implementation of quality management systems in Lithuanian support treatment and nursing hospitals.

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Department of Intellectual Capital and Business Competence, ISM University of Management and Economics, Ozeskienes Street 18, LT-44254 Kaunas, Lithuania.



The regulations of the Quality Management System (QMS) implementation in health care organizations were approved by the Lithuanian Ministry of Health in 1998. Following the above regulations, general managers of health care organizations had to initiate the QMS implementation in hospitals. As no research on the QMS implementation has been carried out in Lithuanian support treatment and nursing hospitals since, the objective of this study is to assess its current stage from a managerial perspective.


A questionnaire survey of general managers of Lithuanian support treatment and nursing hospitals was carried out in the period of January through March 2005. Majority of the items included in the questionnaire were measured on a seven-point Likert scale. During the survey, a total of 72 questionnaires was distributed, out of which 58 filled-in ones were returned (response rate 80.6 per cent; standard sampling error 0.029 at 95 per cent level of confidence).


Quality Management Systems were found operating in 39.7 per cent of support treatment and nursing hospitals and currently under implementation in 46.6 per cent of hospitals (13.7% still do not have it). The mean of the respondents' perceived QMS significance is 5.8 (on a seven-point scale). The most critical issues related to the QMS implementation include procedure development (5.5), lack of financial resources (5.4) and information (5.1), and development of work guidelines (4.6), while improved responsibility and power sharing (5.2), better service quality (5.1) and higher patient satisfaction (5.1) were perceived by the respondents as the key QMS benefits. The level of satisfaction with the QMS among the management of the surveyed hospitals is mediocre (3.6). However it was found to be higher among respondents who were more competent in quality management, were familiar with ISO 9000 standards, and had higher numbers of employees trained in quality management.


QMSs are perceived to be successfully running in one third of the Lithuanian support treatment and nursing hospitals. Its current implementation stage is dependent on the hospital size - the bigger the hospital the more success it meets in the QMS implementation. As to critical Quality Management (QM) issues, hospitals tend to encounter such major problems as lack of financial resources, information and training, as well as difficulties in procedure development. On the other hand, the key factors that assist to the success of the QMS implementation comprise managerial awareness of the QMS significance and the existence of employee training systems and audit groups in hospitals.

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