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Sustainability Management in the Healthcare Sector

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Health, Well-Being and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 11052

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
Interests: management control; sustainability; performance measurement; healthcare organisation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to shed light on the contributions of healthcare organisations to the achievement of the Sustainability Goals.

The healthcare sector is a key one in many countries; where a systemic approach to the healthcare of the population has been defined by the governments, a relevant percentage of the public expenditure is devoted to the sector. Healthcare organisations are different from many others because of their complexity; a variety of processes and functions need to be organised to provide health services, plus both medical and non-medical competences are essential to accomplish the mission of the organisation.

As the sustainability discourse increases its relevance across the globe, the contribution of healthcare organisations to the achievements of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) becomes a urgent matter. Beyond the call for sustainability engagement raised by international institutions, national governments and the academic community, there is still limited knowledge about healthcare organisation practices in terms of sustainability and how these impact the management process. So far, some authors have focused particularly on the sustainable supply chain; on the social and environmental sustainability dimensions of healthcare organisation strategies; and on the definition of frameworks to analyse sustainability in the sector, while others have focused on organisation enablers of a sustainability strategy. However, the extent to which the sustainability goals are part of the healthcare organisation strategy and the impact of sustainability practices on the management and control system of the organisation lack attention. 

Therefore, we invite original contributions that offer theoretical insights, deploy empirical data analysis (qualitative or quantitative), discuss case studies or use other suitable methods to shed light on the issue. Considering the multifaceted nature of the topic, we welcome studies underpinned by different theoretical approaches. The scope of the Special Issue includes (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Healthcare organisation sustainability strategies;
  • Social sustainability;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • Sustainability practices and human resource behaviour;
  • Performance measurement systems for sustainability;
  • Sustainability strategies in practice and impact on the management control system;
  • Financial dimension of the sustainability practice;
  • Sustainability strategies and the relationship among healthcare system actors;
  • Disclosure practice on sustainability strategies.

References

  • Adams, C. A., Muir, S., & Hoque, Z. (2014). Measurement of sustainability performance in the public sector. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 46-67.
  • AlJaberi, O. A., Hussain, M., & Drake, P. R. (2020)A framework for measuring sustainability in healthcare systems, International Journal of Healthcare Management, 13:4, 276-285.
  • Baird, K. (2017). The effectiveness of strategic performance measurement systems. International journal of productivity and performance management, Vol. 66 No. 1, pp. 3-21
  • Cavicchi, C., & Vagnoni, E. (2020). Sustainable Business Models in Hybrids: A Conceptual Framework for Community Pharmacies’ Business Owners. Sustainability12(19), 8125.
  • Cavicchi, C., Oppi, C., & Vagnoni, E. (2019). On the feasibility of integrated reporting in healthcare: a context analysis starting from a management commentary. Journal of Management and Governance23(2), 345-371.
  • Chiarini, A., Opoku, A., & Vagnoni, E. (2017). Public healthcare practices and criteria for a sustainable procurement: A comparative study between UK and Italy. Journal of Cleaner Production162, 391-399.
  • Faggini, M., Cosimato, S., Nota, F. D., & Nota, G. (2019). Pursuing Sustainability for Healthcare through Digital Platforms. Sustainability11(1), 165.
  • Fleiszer, A. R., Semenic, S. E., Ritchie, J. A., Richer, M. C., & Denis, J. L. (2015). The sustainability of healthcare innovations: a concept analysis. Journal of advanced nursing71(7), 1484-1498.
  • Goh, C. Y., & Marimuthu, M. (2016). The path towards healthcare sustainability: the role of organisational commitment. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences224, 587-592.
  • Hussain, M., Ajmal, M. M., Gunasekaran, A., & Khan, M. (2018). Exploration of social sustainability in healthcare supply chain. Journal of Cleaner Production203, 977-989.
  • Polese, F., Carrubbo, L., Caputo, F., & Sarno, D. (2018). Managing healthcare service ecosystems: Abstracting a sustainability-based view from hospitalization at home (HaH) practices. Sustainability10(11), 3951.
  • Saviano, M., Bassano, C., Piciocchi, P., Di Nauta, P., & Lettieri, M. (2018). Monitoring viability and sustainability in healthcare organizations. Sustainability10(10), 3548.
  • Sherman, J. D., Thiel, C., MacNeill, A., Eckelman, M. J., Dubrow, R., Hopf, H., ... & Bilec, M. M. (2020). The green print: advancement of environmental sustainability in healthcare. Resources, Conservation and Recycling161, 104882.

Prof. Dr. Emidia Vagnoni
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • social sustainability
  • environmental sustainability
  • financial sustainability
  • management control
  • performance measurement
  • strategic management

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 483 KiB  
Article
Back and Forth on Sustainable Development: A Focus on Healthcare Organisations
by Caterina Cavicchi, Chiara Oppi and Emidia Vagnoni
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 4958; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14094958 - 20 Apr 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2581
Abstract
The sustainability of healthcare systems represents a relevant target of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda. Nevertheless, academic research has neglected to study healthcare systems when focusing on the transition toward sustainable healthcare. This study addresses this gap by investigating the implementation of [...] Read more.
The sustainability of healthcare systems represents a relevant target of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda. Nevertheless, academic research has neglected to study healthcare systems when focusing on the transition toward sustainable healthcare. This study addresses this gap by investigating the implementation of the sustainable development (SD) principle in the Italian healthcare system, in light of international and national institutional discourses on SD. A questionnaire-based survey has been directed to the General Directors (GDs) of government-funded healthcare orgsanisations to investigate their perceptions about the SD principle applied to healthcare, their strategic planning for SD, their implemented projects for sustainability and the intellectual capital factors that influence the latter’s implementation. The study was conducted in two waves: a first survey was administered in 2016, with a second one in 2021. We used content analysis to identify the potential differences emerging over time in GDs’ perceptions in light of the changes in the institutional discourse; we then assessed the differences over time in the perceived contribution of intellectual capital factors to the implementation of sustainability actions. Results show a substantial decrease in strategic planning for sustainability, as well as in the volume of sustainability projects implemented, as organisations were found to be less involved in implementing SD strategies and projects in 2021 than in 2016. Policies at the country level have mainly focused on balancing cost containment with quality targets, leaving the environmental dimension of sustainability and its connection with healthcare with limited guidelines. Regarding intellectual capital factors, organisational culture and technologies are increasingly perceived as enablers of SD; nevertheless, further studies are needed to deepen their effective contribution to sustainable healthcare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Management in the Healthcare Sector)
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13 pages, 711 KiB  
Article
State Incentives and Sustainable Motivation System in the Health Sector
by Slobodan Ćulafić, Tatjana Janovac, Saša Virijević Jovanović, Jelena Tadić, Jamila Jaganjac, Aleksandra Milošević and Aleksandra Bibić
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13592; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413592 - 9 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2689
Abstract
Now that the pandemic has entered the second phase, in which countries are adapting to the crisis, governments need to determine incentives that will contribute to the sustainability of the health system and human health. Regarding this, human resources are a significant factor, [...] Read more.
Now that the pandemic has entered the second phase, in which countries are adapting to the crisis, governments need to determine incentives that will contribute to the sustainability of the health system and human health. Regarding this, human resources are a significant factor, which affects the sustainability of any system, and it is important to establish a relevant motivation system that will withstand the challenges that society will face in the coming period. The aim of this paper is to analyse three dimensions of state incentives (employment program, COVID-19 bonus, training opportunities) and to examine their influence on healthcare workers’ motivation and the sustainability of the health system in the Republic of Serbia. The empirical research was conducted on a sample of 207 respondents employed in the tertiary level of healthcare. Data analysis included exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM). The research results confirmed the existence of all three incentives and indicated that state incentive “training opportunities” has the strongest effect on the motivation of health workers and the sustainability of the healthcare system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Management in the Healthcare Sector)
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14 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
The Healthcare Organization in COVID-19 Age: An Evaluation Framework for the Performance of a Telemonitoring Model
by Fiorella Pia Salvatore and Simone Fanelli
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12765; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212765 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1728
Abstract
Telemedicine services (TS) are not only supportive for healthcare professionals, but managers also see them as essential for the provision of an efficient, effective, and sustainable healthcare service. Several systems make TS available in different ways and contexts. However, no commonly accepted framework [...] Read more.
Telemedicine services (TS) are not only supportive for healthcare professionals, but managers also see them as essential for the provision of an efficient, effective, and sustainable healthcare service. Several systems make TS available in different ways and contexts. However, no commonly accepted framework meets the need to draw conclusions about which TS can efficiently be measured. For this purpose, a framework is proposed in order to define a dynamic method of performance evaluation that can be used to improve the sustainable management of a telemonitoring model for COVID-19 patients. A case study analysis based on the experience of three telemedicine networks in different locations providing telemonitoring services (northern, central, and southern Italy) was performed. A total of four phases (1. Identification of the target population; 2. Identification of health needs; 3. Definition of the operational plan; and 4. Monitoring of the service by indicators), and seven indicators have been identified. Despite the differences raised in the Italian contexts, applying a performance evaluation framework could help the managerial sector to understand if the service is working as intended and what effects the service is producing on the healthcare organization. Considering the long-term field experience, this framework is an easy-to-use tool that will allow healthcare organizations to evaluate the performance of their telemonitoring model, and improve it according to new needs. Providing a healthcare service in an efficient context is fundamental for the sustainability of the health system as a whole. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Management in the Healthcare Sector)
12 pages, 494 KiB  
Article
Influence of Interpersonal Processes on the Performance of Primary Health Care Organizations
by Duško Čučković, Ilija Ćosić, Milan Delić, Miroslav Miškić and Slavica Ranisavljev Kovačev
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12243; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112243 - 5 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1838
Abstract
Processes in the health sector include diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, education of patients, and all other interactions between qualified medical personnel and patients. Interpersonal processes pertain to the psychosocial aspect of said activities and include variables that describe communication, continuity, patient awareness, and [...] Read more.
Processes in the health sector include diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, education of patients, and all other interactions between qualified medical personnel and patients. Interpersonal processes pertain to the psychosocial aspect of said activities and include variables that describe communication, continuity, patient awareness, and the degree of patient involvement and influence the performance of health institutions in primary health care (PHC). The dimensions of importance for researching the influence of indicators of interpersonal processes on the performance of PHC organizations were identified, taking into account the underlying theory and specifics and characteristics of PHC. This paper studies the influence that patient-centeredness, as a dominant dimension that encompasses interpersonal processes, has on effectiveness, i.e., outcomes presented through health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Data on the factors of importance for this research subject were collected in the Republic of Serbia, while data analysis was carried out using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). The research results show a complex relationship between indicators of interpersonal processes, highlight the importance of this group of processes for increasing the effectiveness of PHC organizations, and demonstrate the influence of interpersonal processes on the performance of PHC organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Management in the Healthcare Sector)
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