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Management structures of the academic medical center

Bongiorni, Dante (2017) Management structures of the academic medical center. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Academic medical centers perform several important functions of the healthcare system by providing patient care, research, and education. Their responsibility is not only to provide quality care to patients today, but also to train new physicians and researchers to deal with the health problems of tomorrow. At their core, academic medical centers function as both hospitals and universities; often, these are separate entities that each have powers and responsibilities over multiple facilities and medical departments. The university will control research and education, while the hospital or health system controls patient care and operations. However, these two entities are frequently intertwined through affiliation agreements, policies and procedures, and management practices. For example, a Department of Surgery in an academic medical center may function as a department of the medical center for its clinical operations and as a department of the university for its research and training operations. This department is thus responsible to and controlled by two bosses, each with separate goals, values, and methods. Having the practice of medicine and the teaching of medicine so closely aligned can have enormous benefits in terms of the resources that both entities bring to the table, but it can also create problems for management. This essay aims to look at departments of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine to examine operational challenges and benefits to this dual-management approach through an examination of selected projects and tasks that function under the umbrella of the two entities. Statement of Public Health Relevance: While organizational management and structure may not be thought of as core functions of public health, it is nonetheless vital to the performance of the health care system in general. A well-run program or medical center can make life-or-death differences to patients. Likewise, proper financial management and cost-savings measures can decrease costs for each individual patient and increase the pool of resources available to the public at large. Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) are arguably the premier medical institutions in the United States, providing quality care in a not-for-profit setting and also conducting impactful and innovative research that has produced some of the most notable cures and treatments of the modern era. At least some share of these achievements can be credited to effective management. As many AMCs have evolved into full-fledged health care networks with multiple hospitals and even their own health insurance plans, management has become ever more complex. As these institutions have grown, so has the internal and external tension between their distinct academic and clinical operations. As the two sides grow together and apart, proper management becomes essential to link their important functions. On an operational level, this “split” can mean more layers of management and more complex approval processes to get routine tasks done. On a positive note, however, the split can also mean that more resources are generally available as divisions and departments have a larger pool to draw from in terms of funding and administrative support. Management’s capacity to align effectively the complementary missions of the AMC will have considerable effect on the lives and welfare of the general public.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bongiorni, Dantebongiornid@pitt.eduDRB48
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRohrer, Wesleywmrun@pitt.eduwmrunUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberNowalk, Marytnowalk@pitt.edutnowalkUNSPECIFIED
Date: April 2017
Date Type: Submission
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MHA - Master of Health Administration
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2017 15:41
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2023 10:57


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