The crucial role of people and information in health care organizations

Strategic Human Resource Management in Health Care

ISBN: 978-1-84950-948-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-949-7

ISSN: 1474-8231

Publication date: 26 August 2010


Health care organizations are facing the dual challenge of providing high-quality patient care at an affordable price. In this article, we argue that the role of people, or human resource management (HRM), and information, or health information technologies (HIT), is crucial in surmounting the above challenge. Specifically, we contend that HRM and HIT in health care are fundamental rather than support functions, and health care organizations need to build internal capabilities in both HRM and HIT to manage these resources effectively. Health care organizations vary in their levels of HRM and HIT capabilities. A few exceptional health care organizations have built both of these capabilities and have derived significant complementarities between HRM and HIT that, in turn, have allowed them to be leaders in value-based health care delivery. Several health care organizations have developed capabilities in either HRM or HIT but not in both, and still others have developed capabilities in neither function. Outsourcing of HRM and HIT by health care organizations is likely to hamper the integration and embedding of these functions in organizational operations. Although HIT has attracted significant attention from policy makers and health care organizations alike, it is not so with HRM. Most large-scale HIT initiatives that proceed without strong HRM capabilities are likely to result in disappointing outcomes. This occurs because the organizational change and development embodied in major HIT initiatives often cannot be sustained without strong HRM capabilities.


Khatri, N., Pasupathy, K. and Hicks, L. (2010), "The crucial role of people and information in health care organizations", Fottler, M., Khatri, N. and Savage, G. (Ed.) Strategic Human Resource Management in Health Care (Advances in Health Care Management, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 195-211.

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