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The Effect of Change on the National Health Service General Managers’ Information Needs - Page 2

RATIONALE FOR THE RESEARCH

The “real world” research that was undertaken set out to identify the information needs of the NHS General Managers and to highlight the information that they needed to meet their organisations’ key success factors. These key success factors serve as the means by which their organisations’ performances are judged. The research sought to identify the effects of the General Managers’ working environment on their information needs and at the same time develop an understanding as to whether the patient, a key stakeholder, had benefited in the healthcare empowerment stakes as a result of the re-delineation of the General Managers’ information needs and the impact upon their decision making. The aims of this research were developed, with the purpose to explore the possibility of developing a model of information needs that would allow a judgmental view of a NHS organisation’s performance.

INFORMATION NEEDS OF THE GENERAL MANAGERS

The General Managers’ information needs were shaped by the influences of the environment in which they worked and by the challenging demands made upon them by their key stakeholders. These demands fell into two categories; firstly the need to deliver performance targets set by the DoH, and secondly the need to deliver services that met the demands and expectations of their customers.
The decisions that they made reflected the influence of the business environment in which they were working; which in turn was reflected in their information needs. Table 1 indicates the type and nature of the information required for their decision making.

As the Information needs of the General Managers had changed since 1991, which they associated with key changes in the environment, so was the belief of the General Managers that their needs would change in the future. In addition to the Business information that had increased in importance since 1991, the General Managers saw their future information needs as more supporting data, which included demographic, political, purchasing intentions and customer expectations as well as comparator data for income and expenditure, contract performance, benchmarking, performance of the business plan and “informal reporting mechanisms”, similar to their present needs.

The balance of power between the consumers (the patients), Providers and Purchasers and how those changes had affected the information needs of General Managers, their relationships with the patients and how those relationships had changed in line with the need to involve the patients in the services being provided, recognised that the services could not be improved without patient support and involvement.

Figure 1: The General Managers' Collaboration to Achieve their Aims & Objectives

The General Managers' Collaboration to Achieve their Aims & Objectives

The General Managers have had to forge partnerships with their key stakeholders to meet their information needs and deliver their objectives. Table 1 indicates not only the particular areas of information needs that had been affected were contract performance data, local purchaser demand data and competitor performance, but through the enquiry process, the General Managers’ information needs. Table 1 describes the categories of the General Managers’ information needs and the links to the influences that affect those needs. Table 1 brings together those information needs into a matrix consisting of ‘type’/‘use of’ data groups and the General Managers’ needs and influences (i.e.: Future needs/stakeholders). The data indicates that the pressures and influences of the General Managers’ working environment have been reflected in their information needs.

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