CALIFORNIA TELEHEALTH NETWORK DIRECTIONAL STRATEGIES
CaliforniaTelehealth Network (CTN) is a non-profit organization that functionsin enhancing the health care delivery system in California. Theorganization was founded in 2007 through the collaboration ofhealthcare, technology and governmental agencies to improvehealthcare services within rural and underserved areas of California.The establishment of CTN was made possible through funding from theFederal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand broadband servicesin California. Some areas are usually left out when it comes tohealth care service delivery and thus may benefit much fromtelehealth organizations (Akanksha Jayanthi, 2014). The organizationis dedicated to improving access to healthcare through interlinkinghospitals, clinics, health professionals, community and otherstakeholders in the healthcare sector.
Gorn D. (2015)reports that there is growing acceptance and use of telehealth inCalifornia, and CTN is continuing to make significant progresstowards achieving their goals of improving healthcare servicedelivery system. Lewenson S. & Marie T. (2014) describetelehealth as the “use of electronic information andtelecommunication technologies to support long-distant clinicalhealth care, patient and professional health-related education,public health and health administration”. CTN has been progressingin improving the health care in California through the use of themodern telecommunication and electronic technologies. The success ofCTN is significantly influenced by its vision, mission and valuestatements, and their implementation. This paper focuses on theassessment of the quality of the organization`s directional strategy.
According toGinter, Dunca & Swayne (2013), the organizational strategy ismade up of four categories directional, market entry, competitiveand adaptive strategies. Directional strategies convey a macro viewof an organization what makes it distinct from its competitors(Holler, J. 2012). Therefore, among all strategies, an organizationshould first define their directional strategies which includemission, vision, values, and strategic goals. Directional strategiesprovide the necessary processes for an organization to define and toimplement to achieve the desired outcomes. The mission explains theexistence and distinctive character of an organization. Below is themission statement of CTN.
“To promoteadvanced information technologies and services to improve access tohigh quality healthcare focusing on medically underserved and ruralCalifornians”
The missionstatement shows that CTN operates in the healthcare sector. Itdistinguishes the organization from others in the healthcare sectorin the service area through the employment of information technologyand services. An individual can tell that CTN is a telehealthorganization from its mission statement. Therefore, the type ofservices that CTN offers is defined by the mission. The type ofservices that CTN offers is an aspect of why the organization wasestablished. Although the mission is a broadly defined statement ofpurpose, it should also be specific in a sense (Galpin, Whittington &Bell, 2012). It is clear from the mission that CTN focuses on medicalservices, specifically telehealth, and uses IT to achieve its goals.The mission, however, does not restrict the organization on the waysto achieve its purposes. The broadness of the CTN’s missionwelcomes innovation and introduction of new approaches and activitiesthat suit the entire organization.
Anothercharacteristic of the mission statement is that it should not bechanged from time to time. CTN has maintained their mission since itsfoundation, and this has enabled it to remain committed to itsoriginal ideas and purpose. The third characteristic of an effectivemission is that it should stress the uniqueness of the organization.CTN is focused on information technologies to improve healthcareservices in rural and medically neglected areas of California. Thelast characteristic of an effective mission is defining the scope ofoperation service and market. The mission statement also defines thetarget market of CTN the organization operates in California andtargets the rural and medically underserved areas. Furthermore, themission statement identifies the type of services that theorganization offers these are services aimed at promoting advancedIT and services that enhance access to quality healthcare. Themission statement reflects CTN’s preferred self-image emphasizeson the organization’s desire to improve the quality of healthcareservice (Ginter, Dunca & Swayne, 2013).
The vision of CTNpictures what the stakeholders expects while the organization isachieving its mission. The vision describes the future of anorganization what the organization will be. The vision of anorganization is developed through reflecting its past, present andthe future capabilities that can be acquired through its currentstrategies. Ginter, Dunca & Swayne (2013) identify idealism,uniqueness, future orientation, and imagery as the four essentialattributes of a powerful vision. An organization’s vision should besensitive to the changes in the external environment and consider itsstrengths and weaknesses. Vision statement of CTN is as follows:
“The CTN visionis to provide managed, sustainable, medical grade broadband access tocommunity anchor institutions throughout California. Theseinstitutions, connected together through a high-speed network toacademic centers, data centers, application service providers andinsurers, will form the basis for a technology-enabled healthcaresystem.”
An effectivevision must be clear, coherent, consistent, flexible, and havecommunicative power. The vision of CTN can be considered ascompelling because it is straightforward, and does not need analysisfor the employees and other stakeholders to understand it(Kirkpatrick, 2016). Excellence is evident in the CTN’s visionmanaged sustainable medical grade broadband access. The vision isconsistent with the organization’s mission. Therefore, the visioncan be realized through the fulfillment of the mission. The visiondoes not have any restriction that may hinder necessary changes inthe future. Additionally, it is inspiring. Since the organizationtargets the rural and medically underserved areas of California, itsvision is effective and relevant in aiming at provision of managed,sustainable and medical grade broadband access. Employees need to beinspired towards the realization of an organization’s vision bydefining the direction (Ginter, Dunca & Swayne, 2013). CTN hassuccessfully featured their desired direction in the vision. However,CTN has failed to honor its past in the vision statement.
Apart from the vision and mission statements, ethics and values areessential elements of an organization. The values and principlesdescribe how the stakeholders such as employees and clients areexpected to behave to operate efficiently and achieve their strategicgoals. Ethics and values should clearly state how an organizationconducts its activities (Hall, J. P. 2013). The value statement ofCTN reflects on the morality of Californian communities. It coversrespect, equality, love, teamwork, collaboration with relevantinstitutions, innovation, and a healthy society. The reason for CTN’sestablishment was to focuses on improving access to quality healthcare service delivery to the rural and medically underserved areas.Therefore, there is a need for equality within the internalstakeholders and in the society regarding healthcare access. Since itachieves its goals through interconnecting health institutions,communities, schools and government agencies, teamwork is essentialin their value statement. The value of ethics by CTN is evidentthrough the adoption of new guidance for ethical practice intelemedicine.
CTN can bedistinguished from other healthcare organizations through itsmission, vision and value statements. The mission, vision, and valuesof an organization comprise the directional strategies. The missionof CTN clearly defines its purpose and distinctive character. Themission states the services it offers, the industry and how theorganization is unique from others. The vision statement of theorganization clearly states what stakeholders expect CTN to look likein the future. Both mission and vision statements of CTN are clear,simple and communicative and thus are considered effective. Theweakness of the directional strategies of CTN exists in its valuestatement since it is not clearly stated and communicated compared tovision and mission. The organization should, therefore, improve itsdirectional strategies by including a clearly defined valuestatement. The value statement shows how to behave and act in theorganization.
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