Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a public healthcare corporation, headquartered in Dallas, TX. It initially owned four hospitals in California but has since expanded to 65 hospitals, over 550 other health care facilities, and over 110,000 employees (Tenet, 2021) across the country. Besides operating health care facilities, it owns United Surgical Partners International (USPI), the largest ambulatory platform in the U.S., and Conifer Health Solutions, a health care support service provider (Tenet, 2021). The organization’s mission and values center on the concept of care, seeking to provide a high-quality, ethical, and equitable standard of care for the patients and communities it serves (Tenet, 2021). In today’s rapidly changing world, organizations such as Tenet are facing new crises and issues and must adapt to face the changing needs of patients in the next decade.
Tenet Healthcare’s Readiness
The health care needs of citizens in the 2020s are projected to be related to the change in the population dynamics of the U.S. The country’s population is increasing, but its composition is also changing. Researchers agree that the proportion of people aged 65 and older will increase rapidly, some estimating a 55% increase in the segment, compared to the overall population increase of 12% (Helbig, 20??; Kirch & Petelle, 2017). Moreover, a general decline in well-being, particularly mental health, is observed, whose cause is not yet identified (Muenning, et al., 2017). Additionally, the cultural composition of the country is changing, necessitating a strong development toward culturally competent care (Helbig, 20??). Related to these factors, Kirch & Petelle (2017) point to the uncertainty about future health care policies, technological developments, and a shortage of physicians as factors that will become more relevant issues in the coming decade. Pivoting to address these issues may require significant changes to a company’s structure.
Tenet’s leadership is comprised of multiple chief officers, each responsible for his or her area of operations. This suggests a functionally departmentalized organizational structure, where the organization is split into departments performing specialized functions (Helbig, 20??). Notably, while a nursing officer is present, staff or ethics officers are not, suggesting a lack of such departments (Tenet, 2021). This may indicate the organization’s lack of preparedness to address the growing needs of the patients in regards to nurse staffing or culturally competent care standards. Currently, this lack of staffing strategy may be the reason of the currently ongoing nurses’ strike in one of the company’s hospitals. The nurses are bringing up issues of poor nurse-to-patient ratios and unsafe working conditions, which in turn cause worse patient outcomes (Flint, et al., 2021). The strike is likely indicative of broader issues with Tenet’s organizational structure and culture. Furthermore, these issues are likely to continue to deteriorate unless the corporation takes steps to improve its situation.
Tenet does not have technological development or innovation in its mission or vision. Furthermore, the organization is not publicly involved in any research, innovation, or experimental projects. This is corroborated by the lack of a research and development department. Medical technology is rapidly advancing both in terms of available interventions and methods of delivering care. Taking advantage of these new methods and interventions will be critical in maintaining a high standard of care into the 2020s. It is likely that without further direct efforts in this direction, the organization will be unable to meet the changing needs of its patients and find itself struggling against its competition.
In terms of culturally competent, inclusive and equitable care, Tenet Healthcare claims to embrace diversity. The corporation employs a diversity council, although the extent of its authority or competency is not stated (Tenet, 2021). Furthermore, while acknowledging diversity in its staff and patients, it does not list any specific programs or initiatives aimed at achieving better cultural competency or providing equitable standards of care. Thus, the organization may not be ready to accommodate the changes in the demographic makeup of its patients and staff expected over the next decade.
Finally, Tenet is not directly involved in any policy-making process. Addressing the concerns of health care providers and patients through updated policies is critical to understanding and meeting their needs. Considering how numerous the organization’s staff is and how many health care facilities it operates, they comprise a significant portion of the population. Therefore, a significant amount of information critical to future policy-making may not be collected or ignored, leading to emergent issues not being addressed.
Based on the above findings, Tenet Healthcare Corporation is not prepared to meet the changing needs of its patients in the coming decade. While present, its diversity and cultural competence programs are questionable; research and development and policy-making initiatives are absent. Moreover, its staffing policies may already be responsible for worsened patient outcomes, low nurse satisfaction, and a nurses’ strike demanding to address these issues. Ultimately, Tenet’s policies and organizational structure may be indicative that the care it provides is not patient-centered.
Tenet Healthcare Corporation, like any other health care organization, needs to constantly improve to be able to continue providing a high standard of care to its patients. Of the four broad categories of issues identified, two can be associated with a lack of clear communication between the corporation’s policy-makers, health care providers, and patients. In step with these changes, the nurse’s role is changing from exclusively that of a health care provider to that of a leader and driver of change. Being positioned in the center of providing care for patients, collaborating with other health care providers, and utilizing the health care environment, the nurse is perfectly placed to identify areas for improvement and enact necessary changes. This position is described by the synergy model for patient care, which empowers nurses and nurse leaders to collaborate with patients and other specialists to drive positive change toward patient-centered care (Helbig, 20??). Thus, implementing the model and working within it will allow Tenet to identify the specific changes necessary in the future.
To facilitate the changes necessary to keep up with its patients’ needs, Tenet should take advantage of this change in roles. It should implement policies that place nurses in leadership positions and allow them to act as an intermediary between patients and policy-makers, or act as policy-makers themselves. Initially, the focus should be on ensuring the safety of the organization’s health care facility environments through arriving at a safe patient-to-nurse ratio and identifying and addressing any other safety issues. Once this standard is achieved, the organization can proceed to ensure its readiness for the future through an iterative process where data is collected, analyzed, and goals are established based on this data (Helbig, 20??). After the identified changes are achieved, new data can be collected and analyzed to guide the next round of changes. This process, entrusted to nurses, allows current issues to be identified and resolved in a timely manner and provides an opportunity to detect and prevent future issues. It will help improve all aspects of providing health care, from interventions and environment to ensuring cultural competence of the staff.
To complement the new responsibilities of its nursing staff, Tenet should invest in new health care technology, novel interventions, and innovative methods of providing care aimed at improving patient outcomes. As these aspects of care are developing quickly, they will become more relevant or necessary to achieve a high standard of care in the future. In particular, technology should be utilized to ensure timely, accurate, and consistent communication between health care facilities and providers, including that across organizations. To coordinate technological innovation across the organization’s facilities, a research or technology department will likely be necessary. Finally, to counteract the expected shortage of health care specialists, Tenet should advocate for, fund, or implement better training programs.
Flint, K., Rosenfield, M., & Burnell, M. (2021). Hundreds of nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. NBC Boston, Web.
Helbig, J. (20??) Reengineering health care management.
Kirch, D. G., & Petelle, K. (2017). Addressing the physician shortage. JAMA, 317(19), 1947. Web.
Muennig, P. A., Reynolds, M., Fink, D. S., Zafari, Z., & Geronimus, A. T. (2018). America’s declining well-being, health, and life expectancy: Not just a white problem. American Journal of Public Health, 108(12), 1626-1631. Web.