Volume 29, Issue 4 (7-2022)                   RJMS 2022, 29(4): 1-9 | Back to browse issues page

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Alihosseini S, Haghdoost A, Ghalichi L, Goharinezhad S, Mehravi B, Barati O, et al . Reevaluation of Problems and Challenges in Iran University of Medical Sciences, the First Step to an Effective Performance Improvement. RJMS 2022; 29 (4) :1-9
URL: http://rjms.iums.ac.ir/article-1-6137-en.html
Mental Health Research Center, Psychosocial Health Research Institute, Iran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran , ghalichi.l@iums.ac.ir
Abstract:   (1576 Views)
Background & Aims: In Iran’s health system, with integration of medical education and ministry of health, medical universities have a variety of responsibilities apart from delivering medical education to university students. Medical universities are playing an essential role in management of the health system. They are in charge of providing the necessary prevention and treatment services in provincial levels, as well as management and oversight of the health services needed by the population. Meanwhile, medical universities are expected to maintain and improve population health through scientific and innovative methods. Although the indicators highlight the success of these universities in many of their tasks, sometimes they fail to fulfil the expected targets. Identifying problems and challenges that hinder universities’ performance and supporting them with innovative problem solving methods can help managers in achieving university goals. Therefore, recognizing and analyzing the university challenges are essential steps that should be taken for the strengthening the university system and empower them to respond more successfully to the existing and future needs and to assure that the university continues its pathway toward growth and development and keeps up the track of achieving its goals.
Methods: This study is an applied research project, which has been designed to identify and categorize the challenges that affect the performance of different sectors of Iran University of Medical Sciences. The participants of this qualitative study were experts, managers, directors and officers of different sectors of the university, including faculties, deputies, offices, hospitals and health centers. In the first step, an open-ended questionnaire was developed and evaluated to extract challenges and problems faced by different units in the university. Then, this open-ended questionnaire was distributed and the challenges and problems of different academic and non-academic units of the university were collected through questioning the managers and staff of all units and subunits about the most important challenges they face. For each challenge they mentioned, title of the challenge, description, and the rational of their importance and priority was provided. The process continued until no new themes emerged. At the end of this step, a list of existing challenges and problems along with their description and rational for selection were available. In the next step, the collected concepts were analyzed in order to investigate the limiting role of these challenges on the performance of different units in the university. After organizing the answers and reviewing the suggested items, similar and overlapping items were merged or removed.  Also, challenges that targeted a limited number of units or those targeting people (instead of problems or processes) were removed. In the following step, reviewing and coding was performed and themes were extracted by two independent researchers. Finally, the themes were summarized based on the opinions of different experts and by achieving consensus. At the end of this step, affecting factors were identified, categorized and presented.
In the last step, three rounds of focus group discussions were held to evaluate the accuracy of the obtained data. In all steps of the study, in order to benefit from the views of a wide range of experts and managers and officers with different experiences, purposive sampling was performed. The data collection continued until data reached saturation. Content analysis was undertaken to provide a complete understanding of the collected data. For maintaining the ethical considerations, the names of the study units and any reference to specific people and occasions were removed from the reports and texts.
Results: we achieved a response rate of 90 percent through multiple reminders and follow ups we sent to unit managers. Based on the responses from units, 215 problems were identified from 38 participating units. The identified problems were categorized into three main themes. Most of the mentioned problems could be categorized under the general theme of lack of evidence-based management. In fact, issues related to lack of evidence-based management was mentioned by almost every participant. This theme includes issues such as Lack of effective monitoring and evaluation systems, and poor frameworks and process flows for applying evaluation results; excessive focus on quantitative approaches for evaluating performance of teams and individuals, and lack of efficient and fair rewarding and punishing systems. The second emerged theme was inefficient bureaucracy, where issues such as legal, managerial, structural and process problems are addresses. Organizational culture was the third extracted theme and defective staff education, communication and motivation, poor workforce performance and attitudes to organization; and insufficient professional commitment were among the most frequently indicated problems. Lack of meritocracy was an issue mentioned across all three themes by participants and was considered as an important determining topic linking all three themes. This topic highlighted lack of predefined approaches for selecting staff at different levels and unclear process of succession in different organizational levels and units.
Conclusion: According to the university workforce, the main problems and challenges that hinder university performance are rooted in an environment of interrelated factors which can be categorized mainly in absence of evidence-based management, inefficient bureaucratic structure, undefined and underdeveloped decision-making process at different levels of the organization, and some aspects of the organizational culture that may adversely affect the processes of the organization. Based on these results, it can be concluded that the university’s existing performance management system, is generally hindering the evidence based management, which in turn, results in shaping of an overall ineffective approach to the decision making processes and a rather static organizational status.
Moreover, such cultural environment can consequently cause a attitude of resistance versus different efforts toward evidence based management. Finally, it can be concluded that if a sustainable and effective change is intended to occur in the management of the university, the probable concurrent effects of the designed interventions an all three hindering factors should be considered with high caution. This consideration is especially important because it is believed that implementing an evidence based decision making system in an organization requires detailed evaluation of organizational culture and characteristics; and failing to provide these information properly can result in a serious obstacles in success of the interventions.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Epidemiology

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