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The marketing department in healthcare systems plays an essential role in the day-to-day operations. According to Huber et al. (2020), relational coordination did not emerge from the healthcare industry but was first conceptualized by the aviation industry. Relational coordination was initially examined when studying flight departure task coordination and has then been subsequently examined in consulting, criminal justice, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and education.
From what I read, relational coordination is used in a complex and rapidly changing environment by mutually reinforcing communication and relational dynamics among team members. The strength of the relational coordination also depends on the quality of the communication and relationships among the team members. Huber et al. (2020) found that despite the use of relational coordination in healthcare, there is a need for empirical research based on human factors such as team participation, leadership behaviors, and group solidarity.
According to Lee et al. (2017), functional structure is defined as the organization of employees into groups based on their skill sets and job positions. Team leaders are tasked with managing function groups and to report to senior management. Specialized functional groups, a mix of employees with similar job descriptions, can speed up work performance and promote work consistency because of the employees’ similarities. The benefit of using a functional structure is that it is easier to manage on a larger scale due to quick employee adaptation to changes happening as the business grows.
Relational coordination and functional structure require good communication and teamwork. The healthcare industry relies on both to improve its operations and the quality of healthcare services provided. Each department within a healthcare system, such as pharmacy, marketing, human resources, engineering, environmental services, nursing, laboratory, imaging, medicine, and physical therapy, is comprised of individuals with similar job descriptions working in collaboration with other departments. Effective communication is essential to keep things organized and facilitate the workflow. Changes in specific departments do not affect the workflow in other departments as long as the changes are communicated and adjustments can be made ahead of time.
Proehl (2018) stated that organizations rely on cross-functional teams to address organizational problems to improve the productivity and quality of the healthcare system. Cross-functional teams have great potential by helping build communication, coordination, understanding, and problem-solving capability through a cross-functional perspective. In healthcare, cross-functional teams are used every day to improve patients’ safety. One example is a patient being admitted to the hospital for difficulty swallowing. On admission, the patient presents the signs and symptoms of a stroke. The experienced nurse immediately recognized those and communicated to the attending while activating the hospital’s stroke protocol. Once activated, the imaging department prepares for the imminent patient’s arrival, with the radiologist ready to immediately read the images and communicate back to the attending. The laboratory department will dispatch a technician to draw blood, and the pharmacy will be on standby to immediately acknowledge and verify the medication orders of the patient. Meanwhile, the charge nurse communicates with the house supervisor for potential admission to the stroke unit and to have a room available. Nurses also have standing orders based on the type of stroke identified in the imaging department. The work of the cross-functional team plays a vital role in stroke care by saving time and preserving brain function.
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