Considering the role of context when implementing government policies in hospitals: introduction of a prospective payment system for psychiatry

J Health Organ Manag. 2021 Oct 22;ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print). doi: 10.1108/JHOM-01-2021-0021.


PURPOSE: The context in which an innovation is implemented is an important and often neglected mediator of change. A prospective payment system (PPS) for psychiatric and psychosomatic facilities with major implications for inpatient psychiatric care in Germany was implemented from 2013 to 2017. This study aims to examine the determinants of implementation of this government policy using the Diffusion of Innovations theory and consider the role of context.

DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: An exploratory case study was conducted in two wards of a psychiatric hospital in Germany: geriatric psychiatry (GerP) and general psychiatry (GenP). Fifteen interviews were conducted with different occupational groups and analyzed in-depths. Routine hospital data were analyzed for delimiting the two contexts.

FINDINGS: Routine hospital data show a higher day-mix index (1.08 vs. 0.94) in the GerP context and a very different structure regarding PPS groups, indicating a higher patient complexity. Two types of factors influencing implementation were identified: Context-independent factors included social separation between nurses and doctors, poor communication behavior between the groups and a lack of conveying information about the underlying principles of the PPS. Context-dependent factors included compatibility of the new requirements with existing routines and the relative advantage of the PPS, which were both perceived to be lower in the GerP context.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Depending on the patient characteristics in the specific context, compatibility with existing routines should be ensured when implementing. Clear communication of the underlying principles and reduction of organizational and communicative barriers between professional groups are crucial success factors for implementing such innovations.

ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This study shows how a diffusion process takes place in an organization even after the organization adopts an innovation. The authors could show how contextual differences in terms of patient characteristics result in different determinants of implementation from the views of the employees affected by the innovation.

PMID:34672471 | DOI:10.1108/JHOM-01-2021-0021

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